The website of the organizers states that more than 900,000 participants had signed up, nearing the number of the historical event. Latvian Television's sightings in the center of Riga, as well as the surroundings, show that there were significantly fewer visitors. A chain could not fully be formed.
Police estimates show there were around 7,000 people participating, whereas organizers say that from above, it looked like 150 to 200 thousand people in total.
Similarly, the organizers claim that over 3,000 people had formed a chain from the Freedom Monument across the Akmens Bridge, whereas Latvian Radio sightings show that there were around 150 to 200 people by the monument. The event lasted for 15 to 20 minutes.
The motivation of people to participate was very different. From open denial of the Covid-19 virus to those who immersed themselves in memories of old times.
Viola: "To be honest, I don't know who the official organizers are... I have my memories. So I experience it again."
Irēna: "I remember little of it, I was very young. There was [a desire] to come as an adult. Pity there are so few people, of course. '
Diāna: "I'm vaccinated. It is really important to have the choice."
Edgars: “I remember my youth – then there was smallpox, scarlatina – everybody vaccinated to eradicate the disease.”
Silvija: “We're about having a choice for people, we felt freer then than we are now.”
The first chair of the Latvian People's Front and a prominent figure in independence fights, Dainis Īvāns, told Latvian Television August 24 morning that he was quite outraged.
“It's stealing an idea. Quite a disgusting thing. Apparently these leaders... they are not leaders - anti-leaders, who have no ideas for their mercantilist political interests, they are stealing these ideas from somewhere in the past. And stealing such very big and sacred ideas. After all, the Baltic Way itself is on UNESCO's list of heritage as the perfect model of people's solidarity. And it must not be used for any vile purpose,” said Īvāns.