Thousands protest against 'compulsory' vaccination in Rīga

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Thousands of people gathered in Old Rīga to protest against 'compulsory vaccination' against Covid-19, LETA reported August 18 evening.

According to the State Police's statement, there were 'hundreds of people' but final estimates showed around 4,000.

Originally, at around 19:00, about 200 people had gathered around the Freedom Monument under the leadership of the politician Ainārs Šlesers. The crowd of protesters slowly accumulated hundreds more and headed to the Rīga Castle.

Meanwhile, people gathered at Riga Castle, as initially planned - a few hundred at the beginning, but around the official start of the event, 20:00, the two groups joined and the number was estimated to be around 4,000.

This number of people exceeded the maximum number of people currently allowed in protests. The crowd of people was not complying with the requirements for the use of masks or distancing, as provided for by the existing epidemiological rules.

The VP warned that non-compliance with the epidemiological safety or other legal requirements would be subject to administrative responsibility. 

“There are different views on vaccination in society, but participation in mob-like events where the safety of fellow people can be compromised is not an appropriate way of expressing views,” said the police.

Several incidents involving smashing a window of a police car and lighting firecrackers, as well as alcohol use, were recorded by police. The protests dwindled around midnight.

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