Police admit November 11 Embankment is not the best place for mass events

Security-wise, 11 November Embankment is not the best place for mass events. Nevertheless, responsible authorities plan to analyse in the near future ways to improve security measures in this portion of Riga, as reported by Criminal Police Chief Artis Velšs.

«The embankment is not the best location for organizing mass events geographically security-wise, because on one side you have Daugava River and on the other you have Old Riga, which is a kind of wall in its own right,» said Velšs, adding that the embankment has been a favourite spot for all kinds of events for years.

According to estimates from authorities, the fireworks event on Sunday, 18 November, was attended by around 100,000 people. Together with municipal services, interior affairs services and ambulance brigades, police will hold meetings to analyse the situation and discuss different security aspects.

«Each side will provide their opinions on what can be improved,» said Velšs.

Although on social media residents have expressed concern over the size of crowds, Velšs said before any ass events are planned, organizers go through a security plan and algorithms used to determine the level of potential danger for each public gathering.

Police also analysed phone calls received from residents on 18 November. Authorities came to the conclusion that 90% of them detailed illegally parked cars, not ‘pushing and shoving’ on the embankment.

Velšs also added that unlike the final concert of the Song and Dance Celebration in Mežaparks, the fireworks display on the embankment is not a controlled event – there are no barriers, safety checks and security zones. If stricter security measures are adopted in the future, residents will have to arrive at locations in advance, he added.

He also stressed that the location and times of festivities associated with the Day of Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia could have been better organized.

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