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Vilnius Mayor condemns Orlando shooting

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius [Photo by: Saulius Žiūra]

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius has condemned the Orlando shooting, which has seen at least 50 killed and 53 wounded in the biggest mass-shooting in U.S. history.

The shooting took place at the gay ‘Pulse’ nightclub in the city of Orlando, Florida, in the early morning of June 12, 2016. The gunman was named as Omar Mateen – a U.S. citizen who shortly before opening fire, had pledged his allegiance to the ISIS terrorist group.

Speaking at a small ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius on the morning of January 13 in memory of the victims, the mayor, and other city representatives laid flowers and lit candles.

After the event, Šimašius underlined that hate crimes are “not acceptable.”

“We must support every victim of any terror attack,” he said. “In this case for us, for Lithuanians and citizens of Vilnius, it is especially important to understand that this attack was aimed at the LGBT community.

“There are LGBT persons in every society including ours, and our message is very clear: if you see your traditional values as beating your wife and killing those who have a different lifestyle, then that is not acceptable.

“We give our full support to freedom, and to the victims of this terror attack.”

Baltic Pride 2016 will also begin in Vilnius on June 13, and end on June 19.

In-light of the Orlando shooting, Šimašius called for calm and stressed to attendees that Vilnius Municipality and the Lithuanian police are taking every measure to ensure the safety of everyone.

“It is the third Baltic Pride event in Vilnius [since 2010],” he continued. “What we have seen right now, is that the situation is calm and stable at the moment, and there are no counter protests. The police are taking every measure to ensure the safety of everyone.

“We are also sure that many others will attend in support of the Orlando shooting to show that this is not the type of thing that we want to happen anywhere.”

It is now possible to pay respects at the U.S. Embassy, Akmenų st. 6.