Lithuanian officials Friday said Soviet troops wounded one person and detained six others during a crackdown on independence-minded Baltic republics. Tens of thousands of Latvians mourned five killed last weekend.
In Riga, the Latvian capital, a line of people stretched for more than three-quarters of a mile outside an auditorium where three of the bodies lay in their coffins, surrounded by flowers and red-and-white Latvian flags."With their blood, they brought us closer to freedom," said 15-year-old Yuris Yanushevskis, who carried three chrysanthemums to place in front of the dead.
The five were killed Sunday when Soviet "black beret" troops attacked Riga's police headquarters. While the motives were unclear, the attack was generally viewed in Latvia as part of a crackdown on the independence movement in the Baltics.
With all 15 republics having declared some form of sovereignty, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev has taken or threatened measures aimed at preventing secession. However, he denies having ordered attacks by Soviet troops in the two Baltic republics since Jan. 13.
Rita Dapkus, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian parliament, said Soviet troops detained six people after shooting at two cars Thursday evening on the main road from Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, to the republic's second city Kaunas.
The soldiers opened fire when the two vehicles, a police car and a car with a Lithuanian government driver and a government accountant, tried to pass a convoy, she said.
On Thursday, Lithuanian President Vytautus Landsbergis accused Soviet troops of kidnapping two draft-age students, and he condemned the military occupation of two buildings on Wednesday.
Landsbergis alluded to Gorbachev's statement Tuesday that there would be no more military assaults in the separatist Baltic republics.
Reformers failed to push a resolution past the Supreme Soviet legislature Thursday that would have condemned Soviet military attacks in Riga on Sunday and in Vilnius a week earlier that have claimed 20 lives.
Also in Moscow, reformers in the legislature of the Russian republic failed to win approval of a resolution condemning recent Soviet military attacks in the secessionist Baltic republics to force them back into the fold.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a resolution 99-0 condemning the crackdown and asking Bush to consider economic sanctions if it continues. The vote came a day after the House unanimously passed the same measure.
So far, the Bush administration has let stand the $1 billion in grants extended last month to the Soviets to purchase food.
Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh is to meet in Washington on Saturday with Secretary of State James A. Baker III as the Bush administration nears a decision on whether to postpone next month's summit in Moscow, officials said Thursday.
Bessmertnykh was expected to meet with President Bush on Monday.
The European Parliament blocked a $1 billion European Community food-aid package Tuesday to protest Soviet actions in the Baltics.