Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bauska protest fizzles, "martyr" arrives to court drunk

One month after a special police unit was sent from Riga to disperse demonstrators blocking bridges and a major highway in the southern Latvian town of Bauska to protest the reduction of services at a local hospital, the administrative trial of four protestors ended in farce.
One protestor was fined LVL 5 (around 10 USD), a second protestor was cleared of all charges, a third failed to arrive at court, and the fourth "martyr" of the August 31 action arrived in court visibly drunk, was tested with an alcohol meter and send home, his hearing postponed.
A planned action to "legally" block a highway by having people repeatedly cross at so-called "zebra stripe" crosswalks also failed, according to media reports. Too few people showed up and the crosswalks were closely watched by police. A small number of supporters of those detained and accused gathered peacefully near the Bauska courthouse.
It appears that despite initial support by several hundred people for the largely spontaneous bridge blocking action, the protest movement against the hospital cutbacks is fizzling out. Some people may have been placated by the appearance days after the protest of Minister of Health Baiba Rozentale, who gave vague assurances that the cutbacks would not be as severe as portrayed in the media. There may also be some truth to charges that a some of the protestors were "lowlife" and drunks.
Whatever the case, it appears that the "spontaneous" protests indeed lacked sufficient organization to mitigate the obstruction of ordinary traffic, to isolate aggressive and intoxicated demonstrators, and to prepare a legal defense team in case of arrests or other trouble.


TRex said...

Epic Fail.

TRex said...

Epic Fail!

TRex said...

You know, that moderation function is a serious pain in the butt, just sayin.