Latvia marks 25th anniversary of barricades

On Wednesday Latvia and Riga especially marks the 25th anniversary of the barricades, reported LSM's Latvian-language service.

Timeline of the barricades (1991)

January 1 - OMON special forces take over the Press House

January 10 - Pro-Soviet Interfront calls on Latvian government to resign

January 12 - Mikhail Gorbachev promises armed forces won't be used in Rīga

January 13 - Soviet tanks attack Lithuanian TV, radio, telegraph, killing 14

January 13 - National awakening figure Dainis Īvāns calls people to flock to Doma square to build barricades

January 13 - The Pan-Latvian Manifestation of some 500,000 takes place by the Daugava river

January 16 - Roberts Mūrnieks is shot by the Mangaļu bridge

January 20 - 100,000 gather in Moscow to express their support for the Baltics

January 20 - OMON attacks the Interior Ministry, killing five people, including two camera operators and a schoolboy

January 21 - Gorbunovs goes to Moscow to hold talks with Gorbachev

January 25 - Funeral of the victims. Most of the participants head home.

In January 1991 people flowed into the capitals of the Baltic states and erected makeshift barricades around strategic locations like the parliament and the national radio to protect them against Soviet troops that wanted to crush the Baltic nations' independence drive. 

Barricade fires and candles were lit Wednesday afternoon by the Saeima commemorating the time and the people who died during the events.

Saeima Speaker - and acting president due to President Raimonds Vējonis' illness - Ināra Mūrniece addressed the people saying that the events of those days have been carved into Latvians' hearts, and that everyone had their own fire to defend back then.

The people kept the flower of liberty warm, saving it from freezing and allowing it to "live as long as the folk are ready to defend it", Mūrniece said.

Flowers were laid by the Freedom Monument, at the Barricades square, the Meža cemetery, as well as by the former Interior Ministry building where the most brutal of the attacks by the Soviet special forces was carried out.

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