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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 30.05.2020, 12:25

Latvia: Meeting against territorial reform planned almost simultaneously with medics' protest

BC, Riga, 05.11.2019.Print version
A "people's meeting" in which residents from various regions of Latvia will express their dissatisfaction with the administrative-territorial reform plan, will be held this Thursday almost simultaneously with a protest planned by healthcare employees, Liga Bulmeistere, a representative of the Latvian Green Party, informed LETA.

While the healthcare employees will be protesting the government's failure to keep the pay rise promise, those dissatisfied with the territorial reform are determined to stage a people's meeting "against a forced and illogical reform that will leave the countryside empty".

While, the medics' protest is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the opponents of the territorial reform are planning to start their meeting at 9:30 p.m. However, they intend to arrive at the Saeima building already at 9:00 to demonstrate solidarity with the medics. 

Several local governments have issued appeals to local residents urging them to join the action. Representatives of the municipalities of Mazsalaca, Rujiena and Naukseni informed LETA that the meeting by the parliament house will be preceded by a march through Riga Old City. 

The Latvian Green Party explained that the protest is scheduled for November 7 because Saeima is due to hold the first reading of the territorial reform bill on that day. 

The people's meeting has been announced by Valdis Mozvillo, a farmer from Aloja, who has also approached a number of political parties for support. The Union of Greens and Farmers and the Latvian Association of Regions have agreed to join the protest. 

The aim of the protest is to make the government resume consultations with local residents on the reform's social and economic goals and implications, organizers said.

According to Mozvillo, the initial number of participants in the protest was estimated at 250 people, but indications suggest that the actual number of protesters might be many times higher. 

As reported, Saeima is currently reviewing draft amendments to the Law On Administrative Territories and Populated Areas, providing for the creation of 39 municipalities instead of the existing 119 ones. A number of local governments have fiercely criticized the reform plan. 

It has also been reported that to protest against insufficient funding and excessive workload, medics will stage a meeting-picket in front of Saeima on November 7. Healthcare workers will stage a protest, called A Day without a Doctor, urging all physicians, except those working in emergency medical service, to take one-day unpaid leave before Saeima's vote on the 2020 state budget bill, as the Latvian Medical Association's President Ilze Aizsilniece informed earlier.

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