Rīga considers stricter rules on street busking

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Having received a lot of complaints from residents, the Rīga City Council is considering introducing stricter regulations for street musicians. During the Easter holiday, many Rīgans called out loud songs in Russian in the Bastejkalns hill, almost at the foot of the Freedom Monument, Latvian Television reported on April 12.

An impromptu party with Russian music was seen Sunday at the canalside near Bastejkalns. A group of Russian music lovers, including the former MEP Andrejs Mamikins, were seen enjoying it, but passers-by were confused and condemned them on social networks, and complained to the local government police. But the police could not stop the music because no rules prevent such repertoire from being played. Nor does it need any permission.

Riga Municipal Police spokesman Toms Sadovskis stated: “Given the fact that residents complained about Russian music, it was assessed what kind of music it was, but there was nothing to suggest that it was in some way supportive of aggression.”

For example, an eyewitness video plays a song in Russian by the Ukrainian group “Nervi”, which openly condemned the war launched by Russia and was therefore denied entry and concert in Russia.

However, the outrage on social media did not diminish.

Rīga City Council officials also assessed what happened on Tuesday.

Rīga City Council Vice-President Linda Ozola said: “In my opinion, this was a really significant disruption of public policy. Perhaps our views and those of the local government police may differ. They have so far looked at such situations from the regulatory framework."

Therefore Ozola asked the Rīga municipal police to assess the possibility of tightening the regulation of street musicians.

Latvian Television managed to communicate with the particular street musician. It is a Russian-speaking resident of Estonia Artyom Ivanov. He is a street musician and a rapper under the stage name “Temada.” He has been performing in Rīga for about five years. The musician told LTV that he had not wanted to offend, provoke or send any political signals.

Ivanov said: “I play the kind of music I like. I also played songs in English, but less because I can't really sing English. But given the situation, I've started to add more songs in English. There are many nationalities in Riga, and I want to bring together the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Americans, and, of course, the Latvians."

At the request of the City Council, the activities of the musician have also been evaluated by the Latvian security services, but they have not seen a threat.

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