Police deny there were crowd control issues on centenary celebration

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Even though attendees of the centenary celebration in Rīga said there was chaos and fear of crowd crushes as people were leaving the November 11 Embankment following the fireworks, State Police vice-head Artis Velšs told Latvian Radio that the situation was kept under control.

Following the centenary celebrations, attended by some 100,000 people, many experienced hour-long traffic jams, while some of those who had arrived by train had to spend the night in Rīga as rail cars departing the Central Station were full.

The greatest worries, however, were felt by people in the crowds leaving the November 11 embankment, especially as some had brought children along.

"We can't say there were problems. There was more in the way of emotion," said Velšs. "Certain elements of crowd psychology were observed. And people who feel unsafe or not cozy in the crowd as they have to stand and wait, become stressed."

"We did not want to ruin everyone's party. We didn't want to close off movement," he said.

Nevertheless he said that the police will, in the future, consider whether controlled access won't have to be introduced, even though it will make movement more difficult.

"It means people will have to spend more time to reach their destination. For example, they will have to arrive at the embankment two hours before time, as there will be only a few points of access," he said.

The below footage meanwhile shows two people being thrown out of a train car before it departs. 

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