Another protest against Latvian-only education

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On May 1 another protest organized by the Latvia's Russian Union was staged in Rīga, opposing the move to Latvian-only education. The protest march started at the Dailes Theater and concluded at the Esplanāde park in central Rīga.

It was attended by about 1,500 people and no incidents were recorded.

The participants had posters in Latvian and Russian, such as "Russian schools are our choice!", "The longer we remain in the EU, the fewer rights we have!" and others.

Alongside members of Latvia's Russian Union, local residents likewise attended the protest. "I want children to study in the language they've been born with. That they study in Latvian, English, German or what have you [..] it's easier for children to study in their native language," said Anna, a participant.

"It seems important to us to be heard out, so that Russian could be freely used and that children would have the right to study in Russian," a protester said.

MEP Miroslavs Mitrofanovs said he hopes that this event will in the future become something to unite the Latvian people. 

He likewise criticized the Constitutional Court's decision over deeming that the transition to Latvian-only education is constitutional. "The decision is unjust, and political conflicts can't be solved in a court of law," he said.

As previously reported, on March 22, 2018, the Latvian parliament passed in the final reading amendments to the Education Law and the Law on General Education under which schools of ethnic minorities will have to start gradual transition to Latvian-only secondary education in the 2019/2020 academic year.

The legislative amendments providing for a gradual transition to education in Latvian in all public schools will be implemented gradually from September 1, 2019, to September 1, 2021.

The move has met with stiff opposition from some Russian-speakers, with a series of demonstrations in the streets of Rīga.

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