Soviet troops seized the Lithuanian national guard headquarters and the republic's main printing plant Friday, and the Lithuanian government said soldiers fired over a crowd outside the printing plant.
Troops at the printing plant shot one young man in the face, said Aidas Palubinskas, a Lithuanian parliament spokesman. Three other people were shot and three suffered broken bones, said ELTA, the Lithuanian state news agency.Hundreds of Lithuanian nationalists formed a human ring to try to defend the republic's television tower. The nationalists have been guarding the republic's parliament buildings for two days, fearing an attack by the Red Army or Russian nationalists opposed to independence.
Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis tried to telephone Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev Friday but was told Gorbachev was having lunch and would not take the call, parliamentary spokeswoman Rita Dapkus said.
Landsbergis left a message saying Soviet troops were "spilling blood in the republic of Lithuania and that must issue an order to halt this action immediately," she said.
Gorbachev indicated Thursday he might impose direct presidential rule unless Lithuania complied with the national laws it has flouted since declaring independence on March 11.
Neither the Soviet Constitution nor national laws define what measures could be taken under presidential rule, but they could include disbanding the parliament and banning demonstrations.
Landsbergis has said imposing presidential rule would be a "new and dangerous step" and appealed for Western support in the standoff.
Some such support came Friday.
The NATO alliance and the European Community urged the Kremlin to refrain from violence in Lithuania and to seek talks with Baltic leaders. Britain summoned the Soviet charge d'affaires in London to the Foreign Office to protest the Soviet troop actions in Lithuania, and Lithuania's neighbor Poland appealed for a peaceful solution.
In its first report on Friday's confrontation, the Tass news agency issued a three-paragraph dispatch saying troops occupied the printing plant so they could return it to the Communist Party. Independence backers had claimed ownership.
In the clash outside the plant, soldiers used an irritant gas on the crowd. Britain's Independent Television News said one of its cameramen, Paul Ewen, was punched, knocked to the ground and kicked by paratroopers he was filming.
ITN's Moscow bureau chief, Tim Ewart, said Ewen was able to return to work and his videotape was not seized.
Soviet troops also occupied an officers school in Kaunas, the republic's second-largest city, said the Lithuanian news agency.
Employees of the national guard building, formally known as the National Security Department, and Press House, where newspapers and other publications are printed, said troops ordered them to leave their offices. Witnesses said eight armored vehicles, including two tanks, stood guard in front of the press building.
Tensions have been building in the Baltic republic since Monday, when the Defense Ministry announced that crack paratroopers would be used in Lithuania and six other rebellious republics to enforce the military draft.
Thousands of paratroopers have reportedly been activated, including 1,000 in Lithuania, the republic most advanced and radical in its independence drive. All the Soviet Union's 15 republics have declared independence or some form of sovereignty.