Photo and video ⟩ Protest action against military service in Riga gathers only a few people

RockedBuzz
By RockedBuzz 4 Min Read

On Saturday afternoon in Riga, only about ten people gathered on the bridge over the city canal in front of the Freedom Monument to protest against the introduction of compulsory military service. Informal organization “Rīko” also plans a protest march at 2 p.m. from the Freedom Monument to the Ministry of Defense, where speeches are expected to be made on the Esplanade.

Photo: Jānis Škapars/TVNET

On Saturday afternoon in Riga, only about ten people gathered on the bridge over the city canal in front of the Freedom Monument to protest against the introduction of compulsory military service. Informal organization “Rīko” also plans a protest march at 2 p.m. from the Freedom Monument to the Ministry of Defense, where speeches are expected to be made on the Esplanade.

Protestā pret valsts aizsardzības dienestu maza atsaucībaProtestā pret valsts aizsardzības dienestu maza atsaucība

Initially, the protestors had stood on the sidewalk in Brīvības Square near the railings of the City Canal and held some placards on which were written “Young people will not serve, young people will emigrate” and “Close the SAD loss office as well”.

Later, around 2 p.m., the protesters started a march to the Ministry of Defense, chanting slogans against the introduction of compulsory military service in Latvian with a Russian accent.

Slogans like “Who are we? Latvian patriots!” and “Compulsory no, voluntary yes!”.

Photo: Protest event against the introduction of compulsory military service

The protesters oppose the forced “conscription into the army”, which is envisaged by the draft law on the National Defense Service supported in the second reading in the Saeima.

Photo: TVNET GROUP

In the opinion of the organizers of the event, the introduction of such an arrangement shows that the Latvian professional army and the National Guard are not attractive to young people. The organizers of the protest event cite several arguments against mandatory military service, for example, young people will leave the country, there will be a war if Article 5 of NATO is triggered, etc.

The protesters demand to cancel the “introduction of conscription” and to make Latvia a country that young people will want to defend themselves.

The march is planned from Brīvības Square along Brīvības Boulevard, Elizabetes Street to the Esplanade, where the Kalpak monument is located.

A private person applied for the event. It is planned that 100 participants will take part in it.

As reported, on February 16, in the second reading, the Saeima supported the draft law, which provides for the establishment of the State Defense Service (VAD).

The SAD draft law provides that SAD military service will be able to be performed in one of three ways – 11 months in the regular forces of the National Armed Forces or the National Guard unit, five years in the National Guard as a whole, performing service tasks for no less than 21 days of individual training and no more than seven days of collective training each year, or within five years by studying the reserve officer program intended for university and college students, with a total training and duty performance time of no less than 180 days.

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