RIGA - There is no surer way of incurring the wrath of the Latvian authorities than by being a young girl who does something slightly out of the ordinary while the international media look on.
Remember Alina? Just 16-years-old at the time, she gently struck Prince Charles with a carnation to protest against British foreign policy. Fair enough. But then the Latvian authorities dug up some Soviet-style piece of legislation that threatened a lengthy jail term for threatening a head of state. Fortunately, Bonnie Charlie himself intervened on behalf on the young girl, and she could return to school life 's albeit under evening curfew.
And now it's Strawberry's turn. The 19-year-old girl caused a brief sensation when she recently interrupted a soccer game between Latvia and Portugal by running naked 's in the grand tradition of streaking 's around the field for several minutes. She hugged a Portuguese player and did a little dance while the police just stared at her in utter confusion. Strawberry said that she did it in "the name of art."
But now the poor girl is being charged with hooliganism by the police. Strawberry, whose real name is Liene, faces a possible prison sentence of two years, compulsory labor or a fine worth 50 monthly payments equal to the minimum wage [which currently stands at 80 lats per month].
It's doubtful whether the police really have much of a case, since they didn't arrest her "at the scene of the crime." Moreover, as with Alina, the whole case has badly backfired for the Latvian authorities. There have been countless reports in the international media highlighting Strawberry's case 's who may well be the first streaker in history to actually be prosecuted.
Streakers generally enjoy a warm reception whenever they make a public appearance. Ilmars Slapins pointed out in an article about Strawberry that Diogenes the cynic was the first documented example of a streaker when he disrobed at an Athens market. Strawberry is merely the latest in a long line of people to keep up this noble, if bizarre, tradition, although it looks like she might yet pay a heavy price for her "art."