Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Latvia: January 13 Protests Fizzle

VZCZCXRO8148
OO RUEHIK
DE RUEHRA #0021 0141547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141547Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6218
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS RIGA 000021

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PGOV LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA: JANUARY 13 PROTESTS FIZZLE

REF: RIGA 00029

1. The widely anticipated January 13 rally fizzled yesterday as only
about 30 demonstrators and nearly an equal crowd of journalists
showed up at the head office of Parex Bank to protest the
government's economic policies. January 13 marked the first
anniversary of a violent protest on that date in 2009 that shocked
local politicians and external analysts. The 2010 demonstration was
observed by several dozen police, who were deployed as a
precautionary measure. The protestors lacked a clearly articulated
message and there was no repetition of the violence witnessed in
2009.

2. The main rally was organized by a small group called
"Antiglobalists" and included several protesters holding posters
that said, "Give us jobs not taxes," reflecting the general public
disenchantment with the country's economic situation. The protesters
mostly spoke out against Parex Bank's continuing bailout. Protesters
interviewed by television expressed a wide range of grievances. The
Interior Minister, Linda Murniece, who arrived to witness the
protest, concluded that the participants and organizers lacked a
clear rationale for their demonstration and said police resources
had been wasted. Murniece's predecessor was criticized last year
for the inadequate police response to the demonstrations.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

3. Andris Orols, the leader of the "Antiglobalists" group, admitted
he was disappointed that the protest drew such a small number of
people. The Chief of the State Police, Valdis Voina, admitted that
even the police expected more people to show up. Viona noted that
none of the more radical movements participated in the
demonstration. As a result of the weak turnout, "Antiglobalists" are
calling for another protest on January 23, this time near the
residence of the former president of Parex Bank, Valerijs Kargins.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.