Seven detained by Soviet monument in Rīga before demolition

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On the evening of Monday, August 22, a few dozen people gathered at the Soviet Army Monument in Pārdaugava, seven of whom were detained by the police, LETA reported.

According to the State Police, ten administrative infringement proceedings have been initiated regarding unauthorized gathering, regarding petty hooliganism, and for non-compliance with police requirements.

Two persons who have illegally piloted drones near the monument have also been registered during the day. 

Most of the people were mere onlookers, yet there were also those who had come to express an active position for or against the removal of the monument. According to LETA, a group of mostly elderly people was against the demolition of the monument, while a smaller group of young people with Latvian flags took the opposite view. Latvian Television observed protesters from the Latvian Russian Union although the party had been refused a permit to protest legally.

There was also an oral conflict between the opposing parties, in which the police did not intervene initially. Still, police began calling for the gathering to disperse, otherwise warning of detention.

The police stress that, in cooperation with partner services, the movements of the public around the construction site will continue to be monitored more closely. “The State Police are prepared to respond to any situation, adequate forces are attached to public order and security,” the statement said.

The police reiterated that although the interest in dismantling is increased, citizens are called upon not to create security risks, not to gather, and not to dwell around the area.

As reported earlier by LSM, Rīga City Council ordered the demolition of the Soviet monument in Rīga in May this year, before a law was passed on the elimination of Soviet-glorifying objects throughout the territory of Latvia. On Monday, August 22, the equipping of the construction site began, and on Tuesday machinery is to be brought in,

The monument will be dismantled by the method of felling it as a whole. The State Security Service expects that hindrances and obstacles may be encountered, particularly by pro-Kremlin activists who might attempt to threaten the process or the security of state.

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