Latvian Interior Minister Mareks Seglinshas waded into the row over a Briton arrested for urinating on the LatvianFreedom Monument.
In an angry outburst, the ministerdescribed people desecrating the monument as "pigs" and seemed toimply that the description could be extended to the whole population ofEngland.
Speaking to journalists in the wake of thecourt verdict against Londoner Shirzey Heshmat, the 38-year-old minister said,according to the Leta news agency: "CÅ«kas tie angÄ¼i... Viena suÅ¡Ä·Ä«ga,cÅ«cÄ«ga tauta!"
Varioustranslations have been offered across news outlets reporting his outburst,varying from: "These English are pigs... anation of filthy pigs!" to the slightly less inflammatory "Englishpeople who do this... [are] a bunch of dirty swine!"
Considering Seglins' senior position withingovernment, his remarks seem at best undiplomatic, however justified his angermight be over the disrespectful attitude shown by some foreign visitors.
34-year-old Shirzey Heshmat from London wasgiven a five-day custodial sentence on Feb 19 after being found guilty ofurinating on the Riga landmark after a boozy night out.
Heshmat is the first person to be locked upfor the offence. Previous offenders have usually been given a fine.