Thousands of Latvians have been protesting at sweeping budgets cuts aimed at securing more loans to save the country’s crippled economy.
State salaries have been cut across the board – even pensioners are losing 10 per cent of their income. But Latvia is having to do this to unlock a 7.5 billion euro rescue package. Pensioner Valentina Borska said: “I have to choose – either to eat or to pay for rent. And I also need to buy medication. So, what to do? Only put our necks into the noose!” Teacher Artlurs Klanvins said: “I cannot afford to work for 200 Lats a month (230 euro). Bills need to be paid and family wants to eat something. I am afraid, I’ll have to leave the country.” Latvia’s finance minister Einears Repse braved the crowd to a mixture of cheers and boos. The crowd refused to ket him speak so he left. Latvia, a former Soviet nation, is facing total cuts of almost a billion euros this year which the government says is to save the country from bankruptcy. Latvia’s president says the nation’s very existence is at stake. But Latvians say the cuts in salary are too great with many describing their 200 euros a month as a life on subsistence.