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Mārupē nozāģē dižozolu

Protected oak illegally felled in Mārupe; authorities look for culprit

On Tuesday, the residents of Mārupe municipality got an unpleasant surprise – a protected grand oak had been felled, and so far it is unknown who the guilty party is, Latvian Television reported on October 26.

It is possible that the centuries-old oak had obstructed the adjacent new building project. Local residents have been fighting against the dubious construction near the tree for about a year. Latvian Television also reported previously that construction had damaged the roots of the oak due to its proximity. The case has reached trial, the works were suspended this summer.

The Mārupe residents met by LTV said:

"I want to cry. Can you do everything for money? Is there no fear of punishment or liability?"

"I was out for lunch during the break. I almost choked when I saw my protected tree had fallen into a horizontal position."

Mārupe resident Arnis on social networks has announced a €1,000 reward for a person who will help identify the guilty party. "From my side, there will be a complete and absolute hell. I'll do everything I can," said Arnis.

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The destruction of the tree has also shocked the municipality and nature protectors.

Andrejs Ence (Latvian Regional Alliance), chair of the Mārupe municipality council, said: “Well, everyone is in shock right now! I don't see how it is possible, in broad daylight, to do such a terrible thing in front of all eyes. A criminal case, I think it is."

 Deputy Director General of the Nature Conservation Agency (DAP) Andris Širovs said: “We really do not have such experience. Maybe in the whole institution. The older employees can perhaps see this in their nightmares. This is really an unprecedented case. So brutal, blunt and nihilistic. Because there was no doubt that everyone knew about this tree."

The real estate project is being developed by “Zeninvest”. Its representative has denied any connection to the sawing.

Oskars Kalniņš, board member of Zeninvest, said: “No. Of course not. I'm abroad at the moment. I just learned about it today. I'll be in Rīga next week, and I'll also find out what's happened there."

The illegal sawing took place on Tuesday at about 11:00 a.m., and the perpetrator disappeared immediately. In the afternoon, the crime scene was surveyed by experts from the State Police and the DAP. The State Police has opened criminal proceedings for the arbitrary felling of trees, which may also be punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. On the other hand, the DAP will ask for further proceedings of destroying a natural monument, which is punished by a fine of up to €23 400.

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