RIGA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Advocates of Latvia's Russian schools staged another rally on Saturday against the government's plan to make Latvian almost the only language of instruction also in Latvia's ethnic minority schools, local media reported.
The rally, which began in a square in Riga Old City, gathered around 500 people but later their number grew to roughly 1,000 as the protesters were marching to the Education Ministry building.
The demonstration, which is another one in a series of similar protests, was organized by Latvia's Russian Union whose leaders Tatjana Zdanoka and Miroslavs Mitrofanovs were also present at the event and handing out leaflets with children's drawings and the slogan "Our children -- our rights". Speeches at the rally were accompanied by the sound of drums.
Mitrofanovs, who has replaced Zdanoka as a member of the European Parliament, promised to the demonstrators that the battle for the Russian language in Latvia's ethnic minority schools will be fought to the end.
Participants of the demonstration were mostly middle-age and elderly people, some of which had taken their children or grandchildren with them.
After chanting slogans against the language reform and listening to some more speeches by the Education Ministry building, the demonstrators dispersed peacefully. The protest was monitored by several dozen police.
The comments of the Latvian authorities are not available now.
In accordance with the reform planned by the Latvian government and approved by the parliament, the proportion of subjects taught in Latvia's ethnic minority schools in the Latvian language will have to reach at least 50 percent in grades 1 to 6; 80 percent in grades 7 to 9 and 100 percent in grades 10 to 12.
The schools will still be able to teach the language, literature, as well as culture and history-related subjects in the minorities' native languages.
The reform would be phased in gradually over a period of three years.