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Threat of violence cancels non-citizen congress

  • 2014-04-25
  • Staff and wire reports, RIGA

Following the Security Police's recommendations, the Riga City Council decided on April 24 to ban the "Congress of Non-Citizens" from holding a protest concert, "We Want Change," at the Riga Congress Center, reports LETA. The decision was made by Juris Radzevics (Honor to Serve Riga), Riga City Council executive director.

As indicated by the Riga City Council, the city's executive director received a letter from the Security Police, which indicated that the event would carry a high risk of disturbances and that the organizers of the concert would not be able to keep peace during the event. For this reason the Security Police recommended the city council not to grant permission for this event.

The Security Police believe that the essence of this event is to divide society in a provocative and defiant way in order to enhance ideological and ethnic tension. As the event was supposed to be held in the city center on Friday evening, there would be a lot of people, which would involve a high risk of physical altercations.

The police have information that the concert could be attended by radically-minded individuals who tend to provoke confrontations.

The concert was to address non-citizens' problems, and demands for education in the Russian language. Aleksandrs Gaponenko, one of the organizers of the referendum to make Russian a state language in Latvia, has threatened that the event would become "the local Maidan," referring to the protests and bloodshed that took place last month in Kiev.