A minute of silence was observed on Vilnius' central Freedom Square Tuesday in tribute to the 70th anniversary of the start of Soviet-era deportations in Lithuania.
On June 14, 1941, mass deportations started in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, targeting former members of nationalist parties, police officers, landowners, businessmen, and "criminal elements engaging in anti-Soviet activities and spying for foreign intelligence services."
These people were subject to arrest, property confiscation and imprisonment in labor camps for terms of five to eight years and subsequent relocation to remote parts of the USSR for 20 years.
Addressing a memorial service, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite described the deportations as a "planned genocide of the people."
A total of 203,590 people were deported from the Baltic republics, including 118,599 from Lithuania between 1940 and 1953.