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The barricades in Riga Latvia from 13 to 27 January 1991
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The barricades in Riga Latvia from 13 to 27 January 1991

January 13, 1991 at 14.00 the Popular Front of Latvia organized a "All-Latvian protest demonstration in connection with a possible armed coup and the armed actions of the Soviet Army in Lithuania", which was attended by about 600,000 people. On the same day, the construction of barricades began in Riga. The time of the barricades in Riga lasted from 13 to 27 January.

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@Popular Front Museum of Latvia
31. March 2021 - 30. December 2021

On the night of January 12, 1991, Soviet military units attacked Vilnius TV, Radio and other strategic sites. During the attack were killed 14 people and injured 110 people. The events in Vilnius created confidence that Latvia would face similar military aggression, so thousands of Latvians gathered in Riga to protect objects of strategic importance - the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia, the Council of Ministers, Radio and TV Centre in Za?usala, Dome Square, Riga telephone and telegraph central, Riga bridges – to prevent the occupation of USSR military aggression and strategic objects. Already in the beginning of December 1990, the board of the Popular Front of Latvia prepared a statement for "X hour" - a call for non-violent resistance in a situation if the USSR wanted to subjugate the Baltic States by force. The USSR offered Latvia a new so-called "Union treaty", by signing which it would abandon the idea of restoring independence.January 13, 1991 at 14.00 the Popular Front of Latvia organized a "All-Latvian protest demonstration in connection with a possible armed coup and the armed actions of the Soviet Army in Lithuania", which was attended by about 600,000 people. On the same day, the construction of barricades began in Riga. The time of the barricades in Riga lasted from 13 to 27 January. It was a voluntary but coordinated event organized by the Popular Front of Latvia in cooperation with department coordinators throughout Latvia. The events of 1991 in Latvia were followed by the world - several hundred journalists were registered in the Press Centre of the Supreme Council, headed by journalist Aleksandrs Mir?ins: they prepared news for foreign press, radio and TV channels. During the barricades on January 16, driver Roberts M?rnieks was killed, on January 20, the militia special task force (OMON) attacked the Ministry of the Interior and killed Vladimirs Gomonovi?s and Sergejs Kononenko, director Andris Slapi?š, pupil Edijs Rieksti?š, later on January 21, Ilgvars Griezi?š lost his life during the construction of barricades in Old Riga. January 25, the day of the funeral of the dead, was declared National Day of Mourning. In an introductory article in The New York Times of January 24, 1991, publicist William Safire, referring to politician Thomas Jefferson's allegory of the Tree of Freedom, which must be sprinkled from time to time with the blood of freedom fighters or tyrants, wrote that the tree of freedom has been shed by the blood of barricade defenders in Riga.

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