Latvija in brief - 2004-05-06

  • 2004-05-06
An unsanctioned anti-education reform rally in Liepaja on May 1 led to altercations between the police and protesters when the authorities tried to detain the organizer, Jevgeni Osipov, but failed on two occasions.

The police later apprehended Osipov and two younger protesters. The protest was timed to coincide with the EU flag raising ceremony in Riga.

Prime Minister Indulis Emsis was so pleased with Latvia's win over Austria and advancement to the World Ice Hockey Champion-ship quarterfinals in Prague that he proposed a bonus for the victorious players. The size of the proposed bonuses was not immediately determined, as Emsis told reporters, "Let's see how much we can afford first."

Latvia and Estonia have the highest incarceration rates in the newly enlarged union according to a 2003 study by the Latvian Human Rights and Ethnic Studies Center. In addition to overcrowded prisons, Latvia and Estonia have 355 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants.

At a press conference on April 28, the anti-education reform organization Shtab released a book titled "Changing Tendencies in the Legal Status of Latvian Permanent Residents," in Russian that was funded by $6,000 from the Russian Embassy in Latvia. Although the book does not address the education reform, Tatyana Zhdanok, head of the Equality Party, told reporters that recent allegations by Russian school principals, who claimed they had been threatened for supporting the education reform lacked proof.