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Anti-government riots in Riga

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Anti-government riots in Riga

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There have been angry scenes in the Latvian capital after an anti-government demonstration turned violent.

Eyewitnesses say the riots are some of the worst seen in Riga since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991. Police used teargas and truncheons to disperse the crowds, who tried to storm the parliament building. Windows were broken, shops were looted and police vehicles overturned. The protests were similar to those held in December 2007, which eventually forced the then Prime Minister to resign. However, the same four parties remained in coalition – and Latvians are now accusing them of mismanaging the country. Latvia was the EU’s fastest growing economy until last year. But it has been forced to take a 7.5 billion euro loan from the IMF and EU after sliding into recession.