About 5,000 rally in Riga against reform of Russian-language schools in Latvia

RIGA, September 15. /TASS/. A protest against the transition of schools for ethnic minorities to teaching in the Latvian language was held in the capital of Riga, where about 5,000 people had come to the Dailes Theater for a demonstration that ended with a rally in Riga’s central park, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.

The protest was organized by the Russian School Defense Staff and the Latvian Russian Union party. The participants were carrying red balloons and placards in defense of the Russian language and chanting ‘Hands off Russian schools.’

“In 1998, a law rooting out Russian education totally from Latvian schools was passed. Nevertheless, in 2004 we managed to seek a compromise and the Russian schools were left in peace for long 13 years. It happened thanks to a first school revolution which we carried out taking dozens of thousands of people to Riga’s streets,” Miroslav Mitrofanov, a MEP for Latvia and co-chair of the Latvian Russian Union party, told TASS.

“This historical experience shows that one must fight, as strength – the inner strength and resolve – is respected in all times and in all countries and expert discussions cannot replace people in the streets who say ‘No’ to the government,” he said. “Now we are saying ‘No’ to the language reform at Latvia’s Russian schools.”

Protests against teaching in Latvian at Russian schools are taking place in the run-up to the parliamentary election, due to be held on October 6 in the country.

“However, we will do our best in these conditions. Today’s rally is linked to the election and without it, no successes are possible in the future. We should make a powerful statement that the Latvian Russian Union party will be represented in Latvia’s would-be parliament and that we will be provided with a platform so as to organize more events in protection of Russian schools,” Mitrofanov stressed. “We must continue fighting at the level of parliament.”


Taco Bell employee fired for refusing to serve English-speaking customer

A Spanish-speaking Taco Bell employee in Florida was let go by the fast food chain after a video circulating on social media this week showed her refusing to serve an English-speaking customer.

The video shows the employee at the restaurant’s Hialeah location appearing to become annoyed when customer Alexandria Montgomery tried placing her order in English, the Miami Herald reported.


After getting nowhere, Montgomery asks to speak with a manager.

The employee, who identifies herself in the video as Luisa, repliesin Spanish: “She is in her house sleeping,” in a dismissive tone before saying “Honey, I have a car behind you,” and closing the window.

She then threatens to call the police.

“Can you move, please? I have an order behind you,” she says. “There is no one who speaks English. This is Hialeah, I’m sorry.”

Hialeah is located north of Miami International Airport and is predominantly Latino.

“I’m trying to order and she’s telling me I can’t order because she doesn’t speak English. Who’s wrong?,” Montgomery responded.

The video shows two other Taco Bell employees coming to the drive-thru window, but neither helps Montgomery place her order.

The customer ultimately leaves without making a purchase. No other employees in the restaurant at the time spoke English, the employee said.

“This incident happened Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m.,” Montgomery told El Nuevo Herald. “I contacted the manager and after explaining to her what happened all she did was apologize and say ‘thank you,’ and the call was disconnected.”

In a statement, Taco Bell said, “This individual no longer works for the brand.”

A spokesperson told the EL Nuevo Herald that “this does not meet our customer service expectations” and “We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn’t happen again

Montgomery’s Facebook post garnered over 4,000 comments as of Friday. Most were in support of her.

“Hialeah is still part of Florida and, as far as I remember, correct me if I’m wrong, Florida is part of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, it’s a country where English is the language we speak. This is a shame for the Hispanic / Latino community,” commented a Facebook user.

I’m sorry here in America we speak English! You can speak any kind of language you want but if you want to live here, I’d expect you to at least learn our language,” another wrote.

According to the 2010 census, around 89 percent of Hialeah residents speak Spanish as their first or second language and more than 94 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.