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    DEFENDERS OF RUSSIAN SCHOOLS IN LATVIA STAGE PROTEST

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    RIGA, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - The defend-Russian-schools-in-Latvia headquarters plans staging on April 13 through 16 a series of mass actions of protest against the authorities' decision to switch, in the new academic year, the tuition of most subjects in the ethnic minorities' secondary schools, including Russian, to the Lettish language.

    Activists have called on pupils of the Russian schools in Riga to gather on the Bastion Hill in the city centre at 17:00, local time, on April 13. There, a two-day national school strike will be announced to be held on April 15 and 16.

    After that, pupils will distribute leaflets among people declaring their readiness "to learn Lettish" but "study in the native tongue".

    The headquarters views the authorities' education policy as "the forced assimilation of the ethnic minorities by switching over 60 percent of the academic time in Russian schools to Lettish". The headquarters demands canceling, or at least putting off for three years, the prepared ethnic minorities education reform because teachers in Russian schools are not ready to teach well in Lettish and pupils to study particularly physics, chemistry and mathematics in a non-native language.

    At the same time, neither the seim nor the Latvian government are going to declare a moratorium on the decision to shift the tuition of at least 60 percent of subjects to Lettish. In his interview to Latvian television last Friday, Education Minister Juris Radzevic reconfirmed that the reform of Russian schools will begin despite everything on September 1.

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