Several hundred people participated in protest at Welfare Ministry’s building

  • 2013-03-19

RIGA - Several hundred people participated in a rally at the Welfare Ministry building today, demanding that indexing of pensions resume this year, that standard of living be improved in Latvia, and that value added tax on heating be reduced from 12 percent to 5 percent.

The crowd was making a lot of noise, many protesters had posters protesting the high heating bills and low pensions in Latvia.

Most protesters were senior citizens, LETA observed.

Union LABA representatives participating in the protest said that if the demands were ignored again, the union would claim Welfare Minister Ilze Vinkele's resignation, pointing out that Vinkele's husband receives a pension of 1,500 lats (2,134 euros) a month, while other pensioners can barely make ends meet.

Vinekele's advisor exited the Welfare Ministry's building to inform the protesters that the organizers of the rally had not informed the minister about their protest. Vinkele is currently attending a government meeting therefore she cannot meet with the protesters, she said, adding that Vinkele would have definitely met with the protesters had she known about the rally.

The protesters kept shouting demands for Vinkele's resignation for some time yet, and then the rally ended and the crowd dispersed.