A university lecturer was arrested for two days for making comments at a public discussion of the economy, while a musician was questioned for joking about taking money out of a bank during a concert. Criminal proceedings have been started against both. In addition, the Security Police warned that they could act against anyone making comments on the internet that agreed with Ventspils University College lecturer Dmitrijs Smirnovs (he suggested that it was unwise to keep funds in Latvian banks or in Latvian lats) or that asserted that the Security Police were returning Latvia to totalitarianism by repressing free speech.
What has happened in the last few days in Latvia, to my mind, amounts to a serious free speech emergency in a purportedly democratic European Union. The tone of statements, as reported by the Latvian press (this repression has been front page news in Latvian newspapers) by the Security Police indicates that they may be preparing for more detentions and interrogations. In short, this police unit is either out of control and no longer behaving as similar agencies in other democratic EU countries, or worse still, it is doing so with the consent of the Latvian government. One signal that this may be so is the refusal of Minister of the Interior Mareks Seglins, who is in charge of all police agencies in Latvia, to comment on what are plainly human rights and free speech violations by the Security Police. Seglins says that he does not comment ongoing criminal investigations, which might be a legitimate remark if the Security Police were, say, chasing down terrorists who were hiding weapons and explosives, but not when this agency has committed a prima facie violation of free speech.
Concerted international pressure and support is needed to stop this repression by the Latvian government and force it to respect free speech as in other civilized European nations. Latvia is not Zimbabve or Belarus. Hence this blog.
To the Latvian Security Police reading this: The content of this blog is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. SO FUCK YOURSELVES!!