Latvija in brief - 2009-03-18

  • 2009-03-18
The Independent Police Trade Union (NPA) have received numerous phone calls from various Latvian regions in support of the 10-minute stop work meeting announced by the trade union to protest the situation in the country including planned layoffs and wage cuts faced by police officers. NPA leader Armands Augustans told reporters the trade union had achieved the intended goal and that Interior Minister Linda Murniece had agreed to meet with police trade union representatives. He said the initiative had made the State Police leadership "a little bit scared and less confident about its actions." Following the announcement by the interior minister that she would fire any policemen who joined the 10-minute stoppage planned at noon on March 16 , the police trade union urged law enforcement officers to abstain from joining the protest in order "not to put the well-being of the policemen and their families at risk."

The Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) plans to address the problem of tired drivers through an informative campaign and the use of special equipment for detecting the tiredness of drivers. CSDD director Andris Lukstins said there is technology available to detect the stage of tiredness of a driver and CSDD might soon start using such equipment. He also said that drivers have to understand that if they are tired, they can not drive a car. The police might also be involved in testing drivers for tiredness. Lukstins did not plan on introducing a penalty for tiredness, the tests would be optional.

MP Juris Dalbins has injured Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF) soldier Eriks Filipenoks during a shooting competition devoted to the first commander of the Latvian national armed forces Oskars Kalpaks, said Latvian TV3. The police, the Home Guard, the Latvian Officers Union and members from five European countries took part in the competition. Dalbins was lying on the ground, getting ready to shoot, when the accident occurred. According to eyewitnesses, due to a technical malfunction the gun fired several rounds, with one bullet hitting the judges monitor and another injuring the soldier in the arm. NAF spokesmen said he was provided with first class medical assistance and taken to hospital where he was later released. Dalbins confirmed the accident happened, but denied it was his fault. He has met the injured soldier and promised to cover all medical expenses. Shooting professionals said such accidents are rare, and this is the first incident involving a parliament lawmaker.