Title: 1991 Janvāris Latvija
Photographer(s): Various photographers
Writer(s): Leon Briedis, Janis Stradin̦š
Designer(s): Ingrida Zabere
Publisher(s): Latvijas Kultūras Fonds, Riga, Latvia
Language(s): Latvian, English, Russian
Size: 17 x 25 cm
Print: Rigas paraugtipografija, Riga, Latvia
Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest: Latvia, 1991
Riga, January 2, 1991 -At the "request" of the Comunist Party of Latvia, a special forces unit of the Soviet Interior Ministry (OMON, the Black Berets) occupies the Riga Press Building. This occupation signal the first concrete steps by the Soviets to muzzle the Baltic press. As the week progresses, the Soviet military machine continues to assert itself with increasing aggressiveness.
January 14th- over half a million people turn out in Riga for a pro-independence rally. People spontaneously begin building barricades in the old city , where the Supreme Council and radio station are located.Old doors, metal beds, sinks and barbed wire fences go up around these and other strategic buildings in the city. Farmers drive in from the countryside with their trucks and heavy machinery, to strengthen the barricades already being erected.
Latvia assumes the paradoxical status of an occupied country fearing a reoccupation by its occupiers.
The week of the barricade has come and gone, remaining only in peoples' memories. But memories fade with time. This photo chronicle is a visual testimony, a reminder to future generations of the events which occurred in January, 1991 in Latvia's capital city.