Baltics mark 30th anniversary of key anti-Soviet protest

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – Estonia’s prime minister says one should never forget the 1989 “Baltic Way” in which nearly 2 million people of then-Soviet Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formed a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long to protest Soviet occupation.

Juri Ratas tweeted Friday, on the day of the chain’s 30th anniversary, that “people holding hands can be stronger than people holding guns.”

The Baltic News Service recalled in a report that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Moscow “started realizing very clearly that the three Baltic nations were moving toward political independence.”

The main commemorations are taking place in Vilnius, the capital of the southern-most Baltic country, and along the Lithuania-Latvia border, with a relay-race and an exhibition.

The Baltic nations remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

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