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Activists stage protest in Riga against NATO troops’ deployment in Latvia

July 08, 16:53 UTC+3 RIGA
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RIGA, July 8. /TASS/. Several dozen activists staged a protest in Riga on Friday against NATO troops’ deployment in Latvia and the Baltic republic’s militarization.

Several dozen persons gathered near the building of the NATO Strategic Communications Center in Riga with the posters: "No to NATO’s Military Forces on our Soil," "Against Latvia’s Militarization" and "NATO! Go home."

"We’re standing against Latvia’s militarization and against NATO’s troops additionally stepping onto the territory of Latvia because this will be a big provocation and a big mistake on the part of NATO," protest organizer, Secretary-General of the "For Independent Latvia" social and democratic movement Janis Kuzins told TASS.

According to him, the deployment of other countries’ military forces in Latvia in the close vicinity to the Russian border poses a threat to the country’s security.

"Any provocations from NATO, including the additional military contingent, bases that are being built here and aerodromes that have already been constructed threaten any citizen of Latvia because this is a provocation. Now it is coming from NATO," he added.

Nearby, another action in support of strengthening NATO’s presence in the republic was held. The action was organized by the Latvian Trans-Atlantic Organization. Its participants gathered with the posters that read: "NATO Is Guarantor of our Security," "Latvia in NATO - Latvia in Security" and "We Are in Security, if We Are Together."

"I believe that Latvians support NATO. We are here campaigning that Latvia’s security is important for us and I’m very grateful to the alliance’s member states that they are present here because this is very important for us," board member of the Latvian Trans-Atlantic Organization Juris Ulmanis told TASS.

The leaders of NATO’s 28 member states are expected to announce at their summit in Warsaw on Thursday about the formation of four multinational battalions in Poland and the former Soviet Baltic states, which will comprise servicemen from the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The troops’ deployment is expected to start in January 2017.

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