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Increased aggression towards emergency teams observed recently in Latvia

The Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) and police say that more violence and aggression towards emergency services is being observed during the pandemic, especially lately, Latvian Television reported February 8.

On Sunday, emergency services rushed to an apartment building in Jūrmala, where an elderly lady was ill. But their work was disturbed by neighbors under the influence of alcohol. They didn't observe physical distancing in the lady's room, refused to wear a mask and filmed everything.

One of the men even pulled a weapon on the NMPD paramedics.

"There were too many people in the room, and a gun was pointed at the brigade," said Rafaels Ciekurs, head of NMPD support center.

The NMPD's walkie-talkies are equipped with an alarm button that, at such moments, transmits an alarm call to the police.

“This call was received at 17.50 and at 17.51 the team arrived. It was found, most likely, that it was a gas weapon. A person was detained and the weapon was removed,” said Jūrmala Municipal Police Department Chief  Jānis Gasjūns.

The owner of the gun was brought to the station and two proceedings began against him, for both petty hooliganism and a violation of gun-control laws because the gas gun hadn't been registered. In both cases, a fine of up to €500 may be imposed. The local police said that there was no significant increase in the number of calls, but more aggression is being felt.

Gasjūns said: “The fact that more aggression is seen, yes, because psychological pressure is rising. Masks, lack of communication, everyone's understanding of this situation. All of this moves toward this aggression.”

Medics also regularly face displays of anger when trying to help people.

"There is a great deal of aggression against the team that we are feeling more and more frequently during this period, during the pandemic. The public is irritated. It wants to go back to normal life. And one of the targets is the NMPD, yes. With a gun this time,” said Ciekurs.

Medics point out that it is hardest when hospitalization has to be refused.

“It is not our fault if there is no place in the hospital, that we have to act very specifically, and only those who really need it get to go to the hospital. But we all have to stay together, and this time is not easy for anyone,” Ciekurs said.

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