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    DEFENDING LATVIA'S RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE SCHOOLS

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    RIGA, May 1, (RIA Novosti) - Those defending Russian-language schools on Latvian territory are to hold yet another manifestation in Riga today.

    According to people from the headquarters of Russian-language school defenders, this manifestation will involve about 30,000 people, i.e. Russian-language school students from all over Latvia, as well as their parents.

    The teachers' section of this headquarters published its statement in Latvia's Russian-language newspapers April 30, noting that the May Day manifestation will become the main open lesson in civic courage.

    We'll show the entire world that we exist, that there are many of us, and that we must be reckoned with, the statement reads in part.

    Those taking part in the manifestation are to gather near the St. Peter cathedral in Old Town and near the House of Congresses.

    They will subsequently march in two columns toward the monument to Red Army soldiers, who had ejected Nazi occupying forces from Latvia during the Second World War. The subsequent rally is timed to coincide with the EU-flag raising ceremony on Old Town's Dome Cathedral square. (Latvia became an EU member today - Ed.) Headquarters activist Svetlana Savitskaya, who is a 12th grade student at the Ostwald school, noted that May Day wasn't chosen for this manifestation by sheer coincidence.

    The manifestation's organizers hope that their protest will attract the attention of foreign guests and journalists, who will take part in festivities concerning Latvia's EU membership, and who will also cover such festivities, the school student, who is also a member of the Strasbourg youth-activists group and a negotiating group, which was elected at the All-Latvian congress of defenders of Russian-language schools for negotiating with the authorities, noted.

    Let them see their new companion, i.e. a country, which doesn't heed the rights of nearly 50 percent of its population, with their own eyes, Savitskaya went on to say.

    Addressing Latvian audiences over the radio some time ago, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia noted that the decision to teach most subjects in Latvian at Russian-language schools matched the current republican situation, and that this decision wasn't something radical. According to Vike-Freiberga, the protests of Russian-language school defenders are politically motivated; such protests aim to discredit Latvia as a new EU member, she added.

    Europe won't reject us, regardless of whether school students take to the streets, or not, Vike-Freiberga noted.

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