UK embassy picket over 'forced adoption' case

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Supporters of Latvian journalist and interpreter Laila Brice gathered outside the embassy of the United Kingdom in Riga Wednesday to demand the return to the country of her 8-year-old daughter Katya, taken into care by the London borough of Merton in 2010.

Around fifty supporters chanted “No forced adoption” and “Send Katya back” amid a heavy media presence while Brice attempted to present a letter appealing to Queen Elizabeth II for help.

“It's been a very tough battle. I've been through every level from being ignored, but I'm pleased that now my case is supported by the President of Latvia, Andris Berzins and his team is working hard for us,” Brice told LSM.

Her case was far from unique, Brice claimed, saying that many other Latvian children had been taken into care with little or no justification by UK adoption authorities that were “almost like the inquisition.”

In her case, Katya was taken away after she was mistakenly left alone for 20 minutes, Brice said.

Asked how she coped from day to day after four and a half years without her daughter, Brice said: “Prayers, anger, belief, prayers, prayers, prayers. I have no purpose in life except to fight for her.”

As well as winning the backing of President Berzins, Brice's case is supported by Liberal Democrat member of the UK parliament John Hemming.

No representative of the embassy came out to talk to the protesters.

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