Mayor harnesses extra firepower in war on badly parked horsepower

REVENGE is a dish best served cold and, if you can get your hands on one, in a tank.

In one of the more creative, and surely most satisfying PR stunts ever dreamed up by a politician, Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Lithuanian capital Vilnius, decided to ease his frustration at motorists parking in bicycle lanes by driving an armoured personnel carrier over a Mercedes.

It’s not quite taking the law into his own hands but, judging by the YouTube clip of the stunt, it was clearly something Mr Zuokas derived great pleasure from.

The move came about in response to residents’ repeated complaints to the local council about luxury car owners parking in designated bicycle lanes with apparent impunity.

However, rather than issue a press release promising residents that the council were on top of the matter, the mayor decided to do something a little more public, and drove an armoured personnel carrier over a Mercedes-Benz S-Class parked in a bus lane.

“I wanted to send a message,” Mr Zuokas told the gathered media. “I want to point out that if you have a car and more money, it doesn’t mean that you can park it everywhere. Recently, there’s been an increase in this type of parking violations, and it shows a lack of respect for others.”

The unorthodox Lithuanian mayor is known to be an avid cyclist and, as a former war correspondent, he clearly felt the tank option was the right move.

On his Facebook page, Mr Zuokas, who is also introducing a system of free public bikes for the city’s residents, said he crushed the car to “remind” at least one errant driver of the rules of the city.

“This week, there were a lot of stories about luxury cars parked,” he wrote. “This morning I had to remind one of a few rules. In order to draw attention to the problems, the fines are not enough.”

Spokeswoman for Mr Zuokas, Irma Juskenaite, said the car was bought specifically for the stunt.

“The mayor hopes that he will not have to repeat his performance to have drivers heed his message, although he says that he is prepared to do so.”

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