Vintage car rally marks Baltics human chain anniversary

  • Sunday 18, August 2019 10:14 PM
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Hundreds of vintage cars set out across the Baltic states Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of a human chain of more than a million people demanding independence from the Soviet Union.
Decorated with Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian national flags, some 200 cars began their journey from the central square in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to the cheers of onlookers.

A number of concerts are scheduled en route before the convoy reaches the Estonian capital Tallinn on Tuesday.

The 675-kilometre human chain, known as the Baltic Way, linked Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn on August 23, 1989 to mark the 50th anniversary of the infamous Nazi-Soviet pact that carved up eastern Europe and led to the Baltic states' occupation by the Soviet Union.

The vintage cars taking part represent both eras, from Mercedes-Benz and Lincolns of the 1930s to Soviet-era Volgas and Ladas of the 1980s.

One of the largest demonstrations in the Soviet Union, the Baltic Way was a "life changer" for many of the six million people living in the three countries, said parade participant Raimundas Skridulas.

Six months after the protest, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.

The three countries won international recognition in 1991 before joining the EU and NATO in 2004.

Organiser Egidijus Einoris said it was the first joint event of this scale for vintage car enthusiasts in the three states.