British man gets detention for urinating at Latvian landmark

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 22:50 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- A British national was ordered to be detained for five days on Tuesday, a day after he urinated at one of Latvia's most revered monuments in the capital Riga.

A rising number of incidents of foreign tourists urinating at the Freedom Monument that many Latvians regard as a symbol of their nationhood has angered government officials.

"Those English are pigs ... One hoggish nation," Interior Minister Mareks Seglins was quoted by the Leta news agency as saying about the latest incident involving a British tourist.

This is the first case when a tourist was detained.

Foreign tourists to this Baltic country of 2.3 million, which joined the European Union in 2004, made headlines in the last two years for desecration of the 72-year-old national landmark.

In November 2006, a British tourist bore the largest fine of 810 lats (1,676 dollars) for urinating on the monument while his friends took pictures of him. In July 2007, another British citizen was fined 50 lats for urinating at the monument while intoxicated.

After those incidents the British embassy had launched a public awareness campaign for Britons planning to visit the Baltics, urging them to observe a code of behavior in the region.