The Riga City Council has denied permits for two politically-oriented gatherings in Riga's Old Town, the site of recent street riots against the government and parliament (Saeima) that saw windows smashed, police vehicles overturned and stones thrown at the police.
A group calling itself the "Action Party"(Rīcības Partija) and headed by formed Euroskeptic Normunds Grostiņš, called for a gathering on Saturday, January 17 at the Riga Castle (the "official"but ramshackle residence of the Latvian president) followed by a march to the Saeima. The Action Party wants the present government replaced by a cabinet of non-political professionals. Their permit was denied but the group has appealed to the courts.
Another rally was planned by a student group, also near the Riga Castle, on Sunday, January 18. It has apparently cancelled its plans.
There are comments and appeals circulating on the internet asking people to defy the ban on gatherings in the Old Town and hinting at a repeat of the January 13 disorders if the police attempt to disperse or interfere with any unsanctioned public meetings.
These bans on free expression (even as precautions against more violence) are in the spirit of the repressive (and scared, from the government's viewpoint) "another Latvia" to which Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis said the country had awakened following a night of rioting.
Unfortunately, it appears that more confrontations are inevitable -- certain parts of society have had a taste of actively fighing authority and there is some justification for at least civil disobedience and resistance to bans on free expression. It is not a good path of development, but unavoidable and largely to be blamed on the pig-headed, deaf and corrupt political elite of this country.