There are many similarities between anti-vaccination movements in Lithuania and Latvia, says Lithuanian Parliament Speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, who suggests that they could be externally coordinated.

“What currently links Vilnius and Riga? It turns out, not only hybrid threats from Lukashenko, but also the use of the Star of David and other symbols in anti-vaccination protests,” she posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

Read more: Israeli, other embassies condemns use of Holocaust memory at anti-vaccination rally in Vilnius

Some protesters in a big anti-vaccination rally last week sported Stars of David and Holocaust imagery, suggesting that the government’s proposed restrictions for non-vaccinated people were akin to the Nazi persecution of Jews.

Similar imagery was deployed in Riga, according to Čmilytė-Nielsen, something she said she learned from her Latvian counterpart Ināra Mūrniece.

“It makes you wonder how sincere some of the organisers are in their radical civic attitudes and how much they’re encouraged ‘from the outside’,” Čmilytė-Nielsen wrote.

Previously, some of the same groups were engaged in protests against gender-neutral civil partnership, deploying tactics observed in other European countries, according to the parliament speaker. “These scenarios are being repeated now [in Lithuania],” she wrote.

“[The same symbols] are manipulated to encourage disgruntled people [to protest] – those who want change, but do not fully understand what company they can get into,” the speaker wrote.

Last week, around 5,000 protesters held a rally outside the Lithuanian parliament building to oppose the government’s plans to impose certain restrictions for non-vaccinated people.

Some protesters held posters comparing Lithuanian government officials to Nazi German leaders and a number of participants used the Star of David as a symbol of discrimination against unvaccinated people.

The rally turned violent in the evening, with some protesters blocking exits from the parliament and throwing bottles and flares at police officers. The police used teargas against the protesters.

Eighteen officers were injured in the unrest. Twenty-nine people were detained and a pre-trial investigation into the riot has been launched.

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