A Chinese tourist vandalised Lithuania’s top religious heritage site by removing a wooden cross that expressed support for Hong Kong’s protest movement.
In a video originally posted on Instagram in November, the woman removes the cross from the Hill of Crosses, which is home to tens of thousands of tributes left by visitors and pilgrims and was once visited by Pope John Paul II.
After throwing the cross, she says: “We have done a good thing today. Our motherland is great.”
Another photo posted online shows graffiti on another cross dated later in November that reads “Hope all cockroaches soon rest in peace. Hope HK can return to peace.”
Linas Linkevicius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Twitter that the incident was a “shameful, disgraceful act of vandalism currently under investigation by Lithuanian authorities. Such behaviour can’t and won’t be tolerated.”
Police have launched an investigation into both incidents at the site in northern Lithuania, which has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries.
Although it was destroyed a number of times in the 19th and 20th centuries by Russian occupiers, it was rebuilt and is today one of the country’s top destinations for tourists.