Hundreds lie down in Lithuania to highlight suicide rate

Hundreds of Lithuanians have lain down on a cold, granite square in downtown Vilnius to draw attention to the high suicide rate that has caused concern in the Baltic country.

About 800 people participated in the action Tuesday evening, responding to a call by actor Arunas Sakalauskas, who has lost eight close friends.

Sakalauskas said during the protest that the number lying on the ground corresponds approximately to the annual number who commit suicide in the nation of 2.9 million.

Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in Europe with 28.2 deaths per 100,000 people annually, according to the World Health Organization.

The country is also concerned about its dwindling population which has fallen by 500,000 since the country regained independence in the wake of the Soviet collapse in 1991.