Police chief: Weekend passed peacefully in Latvia

In Latvia, both March 16 - the Legionnaires' Remembrance Day - and March 17 - the so-called Russian presidential "elections" - passed relatively calmly, thanks to excellent preparation and planning, State Police Chief Armands Ruks said on Latvian Television's "Morning Panorama" program March 18.

He said that the police had quite a lot of work to do last weekend and in the run-up to it. "Thanks to all the police officers, the municipal police, the State Security Service and the State Border Guard - everything went as we had planned," Ruks said. "The police officers and border guards did their job professionally and courteously."

Ruks also thanked Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (New Unity) for the political decision to carry out immigration checks on everyone who took part in the so-called Russian presidential "elections" on Sunday. Of the 1,001 persons checked, 24 had expired Latvian residence permits. 

Administrative offense reports were issued to 22 persons, most of them in connection with road traffic. Also detected were concealment of identity, use of symbols of military aggression in a public place, and aggressive behaviour. There were also a few arrests.

Ruks expressed surprise at Russia's unpreparedness to cater for such a small number of Russian voters - just over 2% - as a queue had formed at the embassy entrance and around 40 people didn't manage to vote. 

March 16 also passed peacefully. "All the preparations were done perfectly. Internal security risks have been studied in depth, including persons and groups of persons at risk - their surveillance and interviews have been carried out if efforts or preparations have been recorded," Ruks said.

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