1,200 officers to keep the peace on March 16

  • 2012-03-15

RIGA- 1,200 police officers will maintain public order in Riga on March 16 [Latvian Legion Day], with barriers being set up at the Freedom Monument, the chairman of the Saeima National Security Committee Valdis Zatlers told members of the press today after a committee meeting.

Zatlers explained that there will be no fence around the Monument, but the yellow metal barriers are meant to keep the pro and anti sides apart from one another.

The chairman of the committee expressed confidence that March 16 will commence peacefully, and there will be no threat to public order. Zatlers also admitted that possible risks continue to lessen each year, and the event itself is regaining its initial significance - to honor fallen Latvian soldiers. At the same time, he said that there is no reason to reduce the number of officers on duty on this day, so to give a clear message that public disorder will not be permitted.

As reported, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis previously said that law enforcement authorities are ready to ensure public order and will use force, within the bounds of the law, if needed.

The minister explained that border control will be intensified this week to prevent undesirable persons from entering Latvia - primarily adventure-seekers or hooligans without any ideological motivation.

Kozlovskis has declared several foreigners, including Russian citizens, on Latvia's list of personae non grata.

Kozlovskis' advisor Daiga Holma informed LETA that, in cooperation with neighbor state authorities, the Interior Ministry will make sure that these people do not enter Latvia.

655 foreigners were included in Latvia's list of persona non grata last year, in January-February 2012 - 116. At the moment, 5,522 persons are not allowed to enter Latvia.

LETA also reported, taking into account security risks and the tense atmosphere in the community, Deputy Riga Executive Maris Kalve announced on March 6 that all seven pro and anti [WWII] Latvian Legion Day events scheduled for March 16, will be banned.