Protesters Demand Repeal of Lithuania’s Migrant Pushback Law
Around 50 People Hold a Picket Outside Presidential Palace
Around 50 people gathered outside the Presidential Palace on Friday to protest Lithuania’s migrant pushback law, which was recently passed by the Seimas. The new law legalizes migrant pushbacks in the event of a state of emergency. The picket was organized by Border Group (Sienos Grupė), an organization that works to support migrants’ rights. Emilija Švabaitė, one of the 28 volunteers from Border Group who organized the rally, called the law a “very serious crime against human rights.”
The protest, which was organized several days before, demanded that Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda veto the law changes. However, the president signed the amendments into law on Wednesday. The president’s office, which usually announces decisions on bills subject to broader debate, only published its decision after queries from journalists.
The participants of the picket chanted slogans such as “shame on Nausėda” and “stop border violence.” The rally was a peaceful demonstration to raise awareness about the issue.
This new law has faced criticism from various international organizations, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They have warned that the law could violate Lithuania’s obligations under international law and put the lives of migrants in danger.
The new law has been passed at a time when Lithuania is facing a sharp increase in migrants crossing its borders. The country has accused Belarus of encouraging migrants to cross into Lithuania in retaliation for the EU’s sanctions against Belarus.
Human rights organizations have criticized Lithuania for its treatment of migrants, including allegations of pushbacks and abuse. The government has denied these allegations.
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