Lithuanian Azerbaijanis Society, Lithuania-Azerbaijan Interparliamentary Friendship Group and Lithuania- Azerbaijan Association have organized an event to commemorate the victims of the Baku Black January tragedy and 1991 tragic events in Vilnius.
The event entitled “Baku – Vilnius: the way to freedom and tragic January events” was held at the Constitution Hall of the Lithuania’s parliament. Addressing the event, Chairman of the Lithuanian Azerbaijanis Society Mahir Hamzayev spoke about the aggression of the Soviet Union against both republics and its consequences.
The organizers have arranged a photo exhibition reflecting the Azerbaijani and Lithuanian tragedies. The participants also watched a documentary about the events.
Black January also known as Black Saturday or the January Massacre, was a violent crackdown in Baku on January 19–20, 1990, pursuant to a state of emergency during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Late at night on January 19, 1990, after demolition of the central television station and termination of phone and radio lines by Soviet special forces, 26,000 Soviet troops entered Baku, smashing through the barricades in order to crush the Popular Front. The troops attacked the protesters, firing into the crowds. The shooting continued for three days. According to the decree of then President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev from December 16, 1999, all victims of the crackdown were awarded an honorary title of the "Martyr of January 20". January 20 is marked as Martyrs' Day (or literally, "the Day of the Nationwide Sorrow") in Azerbaijan.
In Lithuania the January events took place between January 11 and 13, 1991 in the aftermath of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. As a result of Soviet military actions, 13 civilians were killed and around 140 injured. The events were centered in its capital, Vilnius, along with related actions in its suburbs and in the cities of Alytus, Šiauliai, Var?na, and Kaunas.
These events are considered some of the main factors that led to the overwhelming victory of independence supporters in a referendum on February 9, 1991. (Turnout was 84.73% of registered voters; 90.47% of them voted in favor of the full and total independence of Lithuania.) Streets in the neighborhood of the TV tower were later renamed after victims of the attack. /AzerTAc/