Protest at Saeima this morning – one of the largest rallies in Latvia since restoration of independence

RIGA, October 18, 2007

The rally at Saeima building this morning was one of the largest protests to take place in Latvia since the restoration of independence. According to the authorities, some 5,000 people participated in the rally, demanding that Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis (People’s Party) step down.

LETA observed that all the streets leading to Saeima were packed with people.

Most protesters were young people, there also were many cultural workers, LETA observed.

As reported, the rally took place at Saeima building this morning to protest the government’s proposal to dismiss the Corruption Prevention Bureau’s head Aleksejs Loskutovs.

Organizers of the rally said that the government, in trying to oust Loskutovs, had overstepped the limits. The government wants to settle a score with the Corruption Prevention Bureau, which has been effectively battling corruption in the country, the organizers said.

As reported, the government decided on October 16 to dismiss Loskutovs after government members acquainted themselves with a report on Loskutovs, prepared by a special investigative committee headed by Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis.

The committee was set up to appraise violations in the work of the Corruption Prevention Bureau, ascertained by the State Audit Office.