Around 2,500 people gathered in front of the Lithuanian parliament on Thursday to protest against the new proposed real estate tax model under consideration by lawmakers.
Protesters held placards reading “In the future, tax = homelessness”, “Racketeering returns in the form of property taxes,” or “The conservatives’ gang brings ruin to the nation”.
The organizers of the rally say the government’s intention to tax all residential real estate, including a person’s sole residence, amounts to a “de facto expropriation of property”.
“I protested against the Soviet Union back then (…) and I hoped for a better life for myself and for my children. What do we have now? The final crippling,” said Janina Valeikiene, a 65-year-old pensioner from Ukmerge who participated in the rally.
Simonas Margis, a 26-year-old animator, said the planned property tax goes against human rights and the Constitution.
“It simply ruins society by turning them into debtors,” he told BNS.
The authorities gave permission for a rally by up to 1,000 people, but police officers told BNS that around 2,500 took part in the protest.
The police said they had recorded no incidents during the rally, but added that they would deal with possible violations due to the number of participants exceeding the permitted maximum number.
To prevent unrest, the Office of the Seimas closed one of the entrances to the parliament building and shut the gates to the inner courtyard.
In an effort to broaden the property tax base, the government proposes to tax all forms of real estate, including a person’s sole residence.
The parliament was scheduled to hold a final vote on the legislative amendments on Thursday, but decided last week to postpone the matter until November.
The government suggests that the new property tax rates should come into effect in 2025, with the first payment due in 2026.
(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)