Protesters make last-ditch attempt to save Rīga trees from the chainsaw

Protesters took to the streets - or, to be precise, one street - May 28 in a last-ditch effort to get a new Rīga city park instead of a new office block for the security services.

Around 400 people spaced themselves out along Brivības iela to call for the establishment of a green space on the territory of the former "Marsa" (Mars) bicycle track in the Teika district of the North of the city, instead of its currently designated fate: the felling of 44 trees and the construction of an office block for the State Security Service (VDD).

Standing in silence and spaced out along the route from the Freedom Monument to the location of the future park/construction site/spooks' nest, the protesters held aloft home-made signs, a particularly notable one of which said: "There is life on Mars".

"I used to live in Teika and I know that there are no parks in the area, no place to walk with children, no place to breathe, and no place to go outside," said one unnamed protester.

The activists dispersed after an hour at around 10 a.m., but Latvian Radio noted that a couple of motorists expressed differing views via an open car window.

As previously related by LSM, thousands signed a petition calling for the run-down location to be made into a park in a part of the city without much greenery -- only for it then to be revealed that the VDD had secret plans to build a new headquarters on the site.

Campaigners say there is no shortage of alternative sites for the VDD, which for its part insists only this one will do and plans are at an advanced stage. 

The protesters told Latvian Radio they will continue to fight for a park until the security service chainsaws start running in hope that the decision to build will be reversed. 

 

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