Crowds and officials welcome New Year in Riga

Despite less than perfect weather, record crowds welcomed the new year in the center of Riga, according to municipal estimates.

Riga City Council said January 1 that around 80,000 people took to the streets to see in the New Year, including many of the 15,000 guests in town to attend the Taize Christian gathering.

Musical performances and other entertainments were laid on before the traditional midnight fireworks wowed the crowds.

Just before midnight, both Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and President Raimonds Vejonis delivered their New Year messages on LTV, with Kucinskis mentioning the need for tax reform and Vejonis together with his wife Iveta stressing the importance of education for Latvia's future prospects.

"We all create Latvia with our deeds, thoughts, and dreams here and elsewhere in the vast world. We shall enter the New Year with new goals, greater confidence in ourselves, and courage to make bold decisions.

"Latvia must unlock its potential, and that is our primary task for the New Year. We must achieve that our quick thoughts, bright ideas, and big plans come true. Let us discern and appreciate what we have already achieved as well.

"It is important that the state creates such preconditions enabling our talents to express and our enterprise to bear fruit. I committed to promoting that," Vejonis said.

You can read the full text of his speech, in English HERE.

Kucinskis' speech is also available in English HERE.

Wherever you saw in the New Year, we at LSM would like to wish you a very pleasant and peaceful 2017.

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