About 5,000 Lithuanians, after hearing radio and television newscasts of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's warning from Moscow, massed outside the parliament Thursday evening to support their republic's drive for independence.
They fear a takeover attempt by Soviet paratroopers sent by the Kremlin to round up a reported 13,000 draft dodgers and deserters.Another vigil was held outside the secessionist Baltic republic's television station after a show of force Wednesday by Soviet troops.
The deputy Soviet defense minister was quoted as saying that draft evaders and deserters in Lithuania have until Monday to give themselves up.
Armored personnel carriers had surrounded the television tower in the capital, Vilnius, and parked near parliament for several hours before leaving without incident..
Moscow's decision to send paratroopers to enforce conscription in seven secessionist republics has raised tensions, particularly in the three Baltic states, which call it a pretext for cracking down on their independence drives.
The Defense Ministry on Monday dispatched troops to help enforce conscription in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - the Baltic states - as well as Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia and the Ukraine.
There were indications that central authorities in Moscow were not restricting their actions against the independence-minded to draft evaders.