Register to Vote by Wednesday, September 16!
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As of September 14, nearly 23,000 Lithuanian citizens resident abroad have registered to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Even if you have voted before, you must register again for this year’s parliamentary elections. For the first time, expatriate Lithuanians will be voting in a separate constituency to elect their own representative. In previous elections, their votes would be added to one constituency in Vilnius. If a person chooses to vote at a consular office or embassy, they can also register on the election day.
Belarusians Granted Asylum
To date, Lithuania has granted entry to 205 Belarusian nationals who had to flee Belarus following the violent crackdown against protesters by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. Fifty-four people have already arrived in the country. The ministry had begun planning immediately after the massive protests started in the neighbouring country and we are still closely monitoring the political situation in Belarus, said Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė.
Persecuted Belarusian citizens, activists, and opposition members can receive such permissions. Belarusians who wish to use the humanitarian corridor must first apply for a Schengen visa at the Lithuanian embassy in Belarus. There, they must declare “humanitarian circumstances” on their application.
Lithuania’s support for Belarusians protesting against Alexander Lukashenko’s regime has prompted an increase in disinformation, according to the country’s Defence Ministry.
In August, the Lithuanian Armed Forces recorded more than 200 cases of false information targeting the country – a significantly higher number than usual. Most of the attacks were connected to the events in Belarus. One of the new narratives picked up by the Strategic Communications Department, which monitors disinformation and cyberattacks in the country, alleged that Lithuania was meddling in the internal affairs of Belarus. According to the Lithuanian Armed Forces, hostile websites published articles accusing Lithuania and Poland of instigating unrest in Belarus, claiming that the two countries received US orders to start the “bloody revolution”. Other stories falsely stated that Lithuania and Poland were on a quest to
The Lithuanian military recorded the greatest disinformation activity on August 9–11, immediately following the Belarusian presidential election that saw Alexander Lukashenko declare victory. The second wave of disinformation came on August 23–28 with the start of the Freedom Way demonstration, when thousands of people in Lithuania linked hands from Vilnius to the Belarusian border to express solidarity with protesters in the neighbouring country.
The most common story alleged that air balloons launched into the sky during the event carried surveillance devices to spy on military exercises in Belarus.
At the end of the month, Lukashenko threatened to divert Belarusian exports away from the Klaipėda port. The false stories then escalated the narrative that Lithuania was a victim of Russophobia and would be hit with serious economic consequences if trade stopped.
Another popular story falsely accused Americans and Lithuanians of training protest organizers in Lithuania.
New COVID-19 Cases
Thirty-nine new coronavirus cases were reported in Lithuania on September 13, in addition to 53 new infections reported on Saturday, the biggest daily increase since mid-April. One person died of Covid-19 on September 12. According to the National Public Health Centre (NVSC), the person was over 60 and had other health conditions, had been hospitalised in Kaunas since early August. In all, Lithuania has confirmed 3,335 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. Of them, 1,165 are active cases, while 2,070 people have recovered.
No Refugees from Greece
Lithuania has refused to accept underage refugees from a Greek camp, saying it is focused on helping people fleeing Belarus. A fire in the Moria Refugee Camp in the Greek island of Lesbos last week left almost 13,000 people without accommodation. Ten EU countries have agreed to resettle 400 unaccompanied minors, most of whom will be taken in by Germany and France.
Speaking to LRT RADIO on Saturday, the Lithuanian interior minister’s adviser Božena Zdanovič said Lithuania was focused on offering refuge to Belarusians fleeing the government’s crackdowns.
With news from BNS, Delfi and LRT.lt