In another installment of feedback from MYPLACE partner teams on May Day marches, protests and other activities, Liga Rudzite from our Latvian team adds the view from Riga, where cycling eclipsed formal politics in media coverage.
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Two different events took place in Riga – one was organized by a political party, the other – as a joint effort of several non-governmental (including youth) organizations.
The demonstration organized by the Socialist Party of Latvia (not represented in the Parliament of Latvia) gathered around 100 participants in the Park of Revolution of Year 1905, Riga. Participants were waving red colored flags and flags with the logo and name of the party. Slogans carried by the participants read “Power to the people, not capital”, “The key to success of Latvia – very patient people?”, “1st of May – long live solidarity of working class!”. Both representatives of the Riga City Council and other members of the party were giving speeches in Latvian and Russian on topics of current situation in Latvia from the perspective of the party.
The second event taking place was a protest action organized in collaboration of NGO’s Progressives, Renewed Latvia, Reform Task Force of Latvia and youth organizations Patriots.lv and Youth Union of Social democrats. Around 40 people took part in the action taking place by the Cabinet of Ministers. Protesters formed a line, holding a red and white tape symbolizing police line surrounding a crime scene. Participants used cardboard human-size dolls symbolizing those that have migrated from Latvia looking for better work opportunities in other countries. The action protested against political decisions that were claimed to benefit banks, party donors and international creditors, instead of welfare of all people of Latvia.
Besides these actions, there was also the annual Critical Mass bicycle ride taking place in Riga. Inviting participants to think of their own cause and message to express during the ride and to develop their own route of the ride, the event gathered more than a 100 cyclists. One of the leading ideas behind the event was to promote bicycle friendly traffic management in Riga. Interestingly this event received the largest media coverage from all 3 events of 1st of May, as about 38 participants were stopped and fined by the Police for different violations of traffic laws.