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    PROTECTORS OF RUSSIAN SCHOOLS IN LATVIA PLAN TO CONTINUE THEIR PROTEST ACTIONS

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    RIGA, February 11 (RIA Novosti correspondent Anatoly Baranovsky) - The protectors of the Russian schools in Latvia plan to continue their acts of protest against the decision of the republican authorities to limit teaching in the Russian language. Yakov Pliner, a member of the headquarters for the protection of the Russian schools and deputy of the Latvian Saeima (parliament), told RIA Novosti about it after a many-thousand picket organized by pupils of the Russian schools in Riga.

    The schoolchildren protested against teaching in the Lettish language at the schools for ethnic minorities. Today, the Russians account for about 40 percent of the population in that former Soviet republic.

    Yakov Pliner said that in the near future the headquarters for the protection of Russian schools intends to address "the Latvian VIPs, the European and the world community and to ask them to democratize the Education Law in Latvia.

    "Our demands are not aimed against either Latvia, or its people, or the Lettish language. We want our children to be taught in their mother tongue and at the same to learn the Lettish language," said the Latvian parliamentary.

    In his opinion, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga "will make a tragic mistake" if she signs the amendments to the Education Law, which were adopted by the Saeima last week.

    "Even in the years of the German-fascist occupation, not speaking about the Soviet period, children in Latvia were taught both in the Lettish and Russian languages," underscored Pliner.

    Gennady Kotov, another member of the headquarters for the protection of Russian schools and deputy of the Latvian parliament, believes that the Latvian President, who recently announced her decision to make public the amendments to the Education Law, "has shown that she is a president not of the whole of Latvia, bot only of one of its parts - the Latvian part." Gennady Kotov said that a congress of the protectors of Russian schools would meet on March 6 to approve the program for further actions. In particular, at the end of April or the beginning of May, when Latvia becomes a member of the European Union, it is planned to organize a strike of the pupils of the Russian schools and a multi-thousand protest manifestation in Riga.

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