Freedom Monument defender honored in Rīga

Wednesday, February 14 saw Riga City Council (RD) pay tribute to local resident Sanita Katsuba, who at the end of last year intervened when thugs damaged and attempted to steal a model of the Freedom Monument designed for blind people, in the center of the Latvian capital.

As reported by LSM at the time three men were detained Monday, December 4, minutes after breaking off the obelisk on the tactile model of the Freedom Monument in Rīga.

CCTV footage quickly identified the three-person group. Footage showed the model being prised apart with use of a crowbar. However, the most remarkable pictures were of a lone woman who coolly intervened and got the main perpetrator to hand back his prize.

The identity of the woman who faced down the three criminals single-handed was not known for some time, but Riga Municipal Police (RPP) published the video on social networks and invited the woman to respond in order to express gratitude for her brave action. 

Eventually she was identified as Sanita Katsuba and on Wednesday she received an official thank you from Rīga mayor Vilnis Ķirsis, deputy mayor Linda Ozola, ex-president Valdis Zatlers, head of the Freedom Monument Illumination Foundation, and Andrejs Aronovs, deputy chief of the Riga municipal police force. 

Despite the officials' praise, Sanita herself remained modest and admitted that she did not reveal her identity deliberately for a long time, claiming she did what she did without thinking about it too much.

Sanita stated that she recovered the monument from the hooligans with the power of words, calling on them loudly to return the broken part of the monument. "I didn't ask with force, but I spoke with a raised voice telling them to give it back. Words have power, and each of us must remember it," she said.

Officials presented Sanita with a certificate of gratitude from the Riga City Council, a commemorative coin and other gifts.

At the end of December, the obelisk of the tactile monument was re-installed. The tactile object "Freedom Monument for Blind People" was created as a result of public donations. There is a QR code on the base of the tactile object, which can be scanned to get full information about the Freedom Monument in Latvian and English.

Three men have been detained by police and face criminal charges related to vandalism.

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