Vilnius bans begging

Begging has been banned in the Lithuanian capital, with both beggars and donors set to be penalised if they break the new law.

Giving money to people on the street is wrong," said Mayor Arturas Zuokas, as quoted by the Associated Press.

"By doing this we doom them to stay there forever," he said.

Zuokas wants to encourage people to give money to charities rather than individuals.

Meanwhile, those caught handing out alms to beggars could face fines as stiff as 2000 litas (580 euros).

However, the ban will not be enforced in the whereabouts of religious buildings such as churches, convents and monasteries, where alms-giving has taken place for centuries.

Human rights groups have been swift to condemn the new law.

"Begging is a human right," argued Linas Kukuraitis, head of the Lithuanian wing of Catholic charity group Caritas.

"It was there long before cities emerged. There have always been those who begged and those who helped them."


not shown