Thousands protest at parliament

  • 2011-10-19
  • TBT Staff

Recent splits in coalition talks means Usakovs may still have a chance at heading the next government.

RIGA -- Thousands of Russian-speakers have staged a protest outside of the Latvian parliament to demand that the Russian-rights party Harmony Center be included in talks over forming a new government.

The left-leaning Harmony Center won the recent elections with 31 mandates in the next parliament.

The party has been excluded from coalition talks, however, with other parties citing ideological differences and striving to put together a right-wing government. With recent splits in the talks, however, Harmony Center now has an historic chance at joining the next government.

Harmony Center has been widely criticized for it's close ties to Russia and its anti-Europe economic policy. Controversially, the party does not consider Latvia to have been "occupied" by the Soviet Union.

Police estimate that around 2,000 people took part in Monday's protest. They waved signs reading "no ethnic discrimination".

Party Prime Ministerial candidate and current Riga City Mayor Nils Usakovs after the protest urged President Andris Berzins to give the winning party a mandate to form government.