what turned out to be the laying of flowers at the monument in Riga

Trials have been launched against two citizens under the article on “justifying genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes.” The person involved in one of them is a young man named Alexander, who brought the state flag of Russia to the monument. His mother toldthat they came to her with a search.

Both of these cases will be handled by the State Security Service (SSS). Another case was initiated under the article on resistance to a representative of the authorities.

A total of 20 administrative cases were opened, nine of them on violation of the established procedure for organizing and holding meetings, marches and pickets. Among the defendants were former deputies of the Riga City Council Alexei Roslikov and Vadim Barannik, as well as the current deputy of the Latvian parliament Regina Lochmele.

Six administrative cases concern the use of symbols “glorifying military aggression and war crimes” in a public place, three – petty hooliganism, two – failure to comply with the lawful demands of an official or countering an official.

In addition, law enforcement agencies are studying materials from social networks and “obtained with the help of police technical means” – that is, from CCTV cameras and police drones. As a result of this work, new cases may be initiated.

Police checks

In connection with the events near the monument to the Liberators of Riga, departmental checks are being carried out in the State Police of Latvia itself, which, as the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic admitted, did not respond quickly enough to what was happening.

Head of the State Police of Latvia Armands Ruks informed in an interview with Latvijas Radio, that depending on the results of departmental checks, employees who did not comply with the orders given by their management may be fired.

According to the official, the actions of the commanders on the ground are being especially closely studied, since it was he who had to quickly make decisions on intervening in the situation. “I saw that some orders from above were not carried out within an hour. It was obvious that someone was trying to do something, and someone was not, ”said Rooks.

He suggested that the police could have acted too softly, out of inertia caused by the specifics of their work during the coronavirus pandemic, when violators of epidemiological restrictions should have been “warned, not punished.”

“However, a different approach was required here,” summed up the head of the State Police of Latvia. He assured that the public will be informed about which of the police officers will eventually be fired for dereliction of duty.

Scandal around the monument to Soviet soldiers

12 May the Saeima of Latvia suspended the operation of an agreement with Russia, which obliges the republic, among other things, to preserve military monuments. Thus, the legislative obstacle to the demolition of the monument to the Liberators of Riga in Victory Park was removed.

The Riga City Council has already announced that it is ready to make a political decision on the fate of the monument in the near future. The council meeting will take place in the near future. Delphi in the Communications Department of the City Council. Riga Mayor’s Communications Adviser Alexis Zoldners confirmed that a specific procedure with precise timelines “may crystallize very soon” – but much, he said, will depend on whether the Seimas is ready to pass a separate law to speed up this procedure.

On the evening of May 11, a collection of donations for the demolition of the monument was organized on the Internet platform Ziedot.lv. By the middle of the next day, May 12, the collected amount exceeded €100,000. The Riga authorities still refuse to make statements about whether these funds will be used to finance the dismantling of the monument and whether donations can speed up this process. “The decision on the use of the collected funds by the municipality has not yet been made. In cooperation with the Seimas and the government, ways will be found to speed up the procedures,” says in a message from the mayor’s office.

Access to the monument is currently closed “For security reasons.” By order of the Head of the State Police of Latvia, his fenced off portable fence.

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