Thursday, January 22, 2009
Oh, yeah, Latvia!
It was over a month ago that we last published anything about the ostensible subject of this journal, i.e. Latvia. Stuff has certainly been happening but we have been remiss, in part because of the traveling, and in part because we must be studiously in line with our day-job responsibilities in saying anything about events in Latvia that aren't focused on us going to a charming countryside retreat.
In any case, your correspondent was present at a large rally (estimated 10,000 people) in the heart of Old Riga a week ago. It was a political rally calling for the dismissal of the current parliament. (And to be clear, neither I nor any of my employers have any position about who should be in the Latvian parliament, since that is an internal Latvian matter. I attended as a interested bystander, not a supporter.) This protest, however, became notable in that after the protest ended, some of the youngsters who had gathered for a freezing-cold night of political discourse and no small amount of vodka decided that the next step would be to start breaking shop windows and trying to force their way into the Parliament building. Fortunately, your correspondent was called away to another event that evening, bidding farewell to our outgoing Ambassador, and did not get any pictures of young hooligans tussling with the police.
It really wasn't much of a riot by world standards, but according to many Latvians, it was the first ever in Riga. I'm not sure if or under what definition that's true, but if it is: what an odd bit of history to have been present for.