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Latvian nationalists demand resignation of Riga mayor

January 10, 2014, 22:19 UTC+3 RIGA
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RIGA, January 10, 21:55 /ITAR-TASS/. Latvian nationalists urge Riga’s Mayor Nils Usakovs to step down over the fatal accident in the Maxima shopping centre that claimed 54 lives.

Another rally to demand Usakovs’ resignation will be held in front of the building of the city administration on January 14, Janis Martins Skuja, a member of the Riga Duma (legislature) said on Friday. “This is not the first picket demanding Usakovs’ resignation. Such pickets will he staged regularly until he leaves his office,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, the prosecutor general’s office and the country’s anti-corruption authorities registered requests to open a criminal case against Usakovs over his initiative to establish passenger fares for tourists at a tariff twice as big as for the city dwellers starting from January 1, 2014.

The accident at the Maxima shopping centre occurred on November 21. As many as 54 people, including two Russian nationals, a citizen of Armenia and three rescuers died. Thirty-nine people were injured, of whom 29 were taken to hospital.

A week after the accident, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis undertook political responsibility for what had happened at the Maxima centre and announced the resignation of the government. Following this announcement, Latvian nationalists demanded the resignation of Riga’s mayor Nils Usakovs. After that, Usakovs called an extraordinary session of the Riga Duma to vote confidence in the mayor. The Duma has twice voted for him to retain his post.

In early December, about 100 activists staged a picket in front of the building of the Riga Duma demanding that Usakov step down. On the same day, Usakov’s supporters also had a rally, which drew about 1,000 participants.

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