“At the time of the Barricades we breathed as one. It was 25 years ago in January when we gathered around bonfires and used our warmth to keep the delicate flower of freedom from withering. We prevailed and kept it alive. And it will live on as long as people are prepared to defend it,” said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, on Wednesday, 20 January, during an anniversary event dedicated to the Barricades of January 1991.
“The Barricades embody our people’s courage to peacefully stand up against an armed enemy. Thousands of people gathered around bonfires here in Riga, and thousands of supporters reached out to them,” said Speaker Mūrniece in her address to the participants of the Barricades, politicians and journalists who attended the memorial bonfire in front of the Saeima building.
Mūrniece underlined that the Barricades represent the unwavering will of the nation to protect the state, as well as its triumph over the plots and designs of a vast empire, and applauded the courage of the participants of the Barricades, who selflessly defended Latvia’s freedom.
As a part of the 25th anniversary of the Barricades, the Saeima also hosted the opening of the book “January Chronicles. Press Releases Issued by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia, 1991”. The book, published by the Saeima, is a compilation of the Supreme Council Press Centre’s press releases that were written in English and disseminated to Western countries during the turbulent time of the Barricades.
Mūrniece especially praised the journalists who reported from the Barricades and underlined the important role of mass media in paving the road to the restoration of Latvia’s independence. “During the Barricades journalists had an important mission of providing information. They competed for the opportunity to be the first to let the world know about the developments in Latvia. Those were the information barricades that Latvian journalists defended,” said Mūrniece.
The Speaker honoured not only journalists, but also former staff members of the Supreme Council Press Centre, as well as politicians for their invaluable input in keeping the world up to date on the real situation in Latvia and the will of its people.
The tradition of holding ceremonial events dedicated to the television, radio and press representatives who worked during the Barricades was established during the 8th convocation of the Saeima.
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Saeima Press Service