Thousands of Lithuanians chanting "for shame!" jammed the center of their capital Vilnius Tuesday to protest their legislature's refusal to declare the Soviet republic's autonomy from Moscow, residents said.
In Moscow, lawmakers recommended changes in constitutional amendments that have touched off the furor in Lithuania and the other Baltic republics, Estonia and Latvia, because of limits they place on the republics' powers, the daily Pravda said.The amendments were proposed by Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev as the keystone of his political reform program, which includes the creation of a more powerful presidency and a full-time national legislature.
In Vilnuis, the Lithuanian Movement for Perestroika's call for a 10-minute noon protest halted traffic in the city center, and about 10,000 people rallied on the city's Gediminas Square, said movement spokeswoman Rita Dapkus.
Alvydas Medalinskas, the movement's acting secretary, addressed the crowd from a balcony and called for the removal of three members of Lithuania's Communist Party Central Committee, Dapkus said in a telephone interview.
One of the three, Lionginas Sepetys, presided over the Friday session of Lithuania's Supreme Soviet parliament that refused to challenge Kremlin authority by declaring the republic sovereign, as lawmakers in the neighboring Baltic republic of Estonia had done two days earlier.