The meeting "For the free choice of the language of teaching!" organized by LAShOR, took place in Riga centre on May 23.
The main goal of the event was to clearly demonstrate that there exists a strong demand for the education in the Russian language in Latvia.
The main demand of the meeting was - the parents and the schools ( and not the government) should determine the language of teaching for the children in a democratic country.
According to observers the meeting was attended by 5000-10000 people. Apart from those living in Riga, many people from Ventspils, Valmiera, Elgava, daugavpils,Liepaja and other towns came to support the event.
In fact this was the first mass national minorities manifestation of their needs and demands since 1998, when the Law on Education was adopted. According to the Law, only Latvian must be used as the language of teaching in secondary schools from 01.09.2004.
We considered it very important to give the word to those who are affected directly by the school reform and who are not being listened to by the authorities.
Thus the teachrs, students and parents from various Latvian cities and towns spoke at the manifestation.
The event was quite peacful with no excesses or provocations, predicted by the many government officials.
During the perion from April 12 till May 23 57000 signatures have been collected for the Appeal to immediately alter the Law on Education and to guarantee that the national minorities schools could determine and choose the language of teaching.
This Appeal was handed over to those Saeima deputees present at the manifestation. The Appeal was also delivered to the President, the Saeima and the Ministry of Education and Science.
The signatures will be collected till 01.09.2003. In case the demands will not be fulfilled, other opposition resistance actions will take place, among them - "EMPTY SCHOOLS" action on Sept.1,2003.