Photo: Tija Iles
RIGA-TALLINN- A parade ofover 1000 supporters marched from the FreedomMonument to the Russian and Georgianembassies in support of Georgiaand against Russian aggression.
Carryingwhite roses and signs reading "Putin! I cry because of you" and "hands off ofGeorgia-Russians go home" caused traffic blockage for hours as protestorsparaded through the streets.
The doublemeaning of many chants was not lost on participants. The cries of "Russiansout!" was met with a light reprimand from the LATO Latvian TransatlanticOrganization protestorganizers that "we are in support of Georgia, not against the Russianpeople."
Several Russiasupporters, wrapped in Russian flags also attended and heckled participants.
The marchended at the Georgian embassy where supporters placed white roses in sympathyon the embassy ledges. Georgian embassy workers and the ambassador were pleasedat the display and tearfully thanked the Latvians.
TheGeorgians in attendance sang Georgian songs and the mood was one of peace, notanger.
Similarprotests and supportive actions were held in Lithauania and Estonia.
EstonianPresident Toomas Hendrik Ilves called on Europe to take charge in ending theRussian attacks in Georgia.
Ilves said that the scale and specificity of Russia'sattacks indicated detailed planning.
"Essentially, Russiacopied the Serbiaand Kosovo scenario one-to-one: crippling of infrastructure, destroyingmilitary capacity, undermining the lawful regime and claiming humanitarianintervention."
Ilves said that the European Union must thereforeresolutely support the legitimacy of the democratic and law-abiding government,which has not oppressed its own population in any way.
"It is the European Union that can and should be thestrong power that induces the Russian Federationto end its military activity on the territory of the Republic of Georgia,"he said.
Ilves continued that "War has broken out in Europe, a European nation has fallen victim to theaggression of its neighbor, and the European Union, as the bearer of Europeanvalues, cannot remain a helpless bystander."
"We both understand that the European Union faces avery serious and fundamental choice, because the Russian attacks against Georgiaunavoidably confront us with the task of reviewing several aspects of currentcooperation between the European Union and Russia," the Estonian president said, adding thatRussia's military strikes in Georgia tolled a knell for many of Europe's hopes,such the possibility of sharing common fundamental values with Russia.
To show Russiathat aggression will not be without consequences, President Ilves recommended thatthe European Union immediately suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia andfurther dialogue on this topic.