Human Chain Transfers Library Books

Around 15,000 people turned out in the cold Saturday in Riga, Latvia, to form a two-kilometer-long chain of book lovers. The occasion was the transfer of books from the old National Library to the newly-built National Library across the river. They could have used trucks, but what's the fun in that? Instead, the books were passed hand-to-hand the entire route. The event was designed to evoke the memory of The Baltic Way, a 1989 demonstration that saw two million people join hands across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all Soviet republics at the time.

Organiser Aiva Rozenberga said the event had deep symbolic significance for Latvians.

"The people who stood in the Baltic Way remember that feeling of being shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers," she told AFP. "The people taking part in the book chain who are prepared to stand here on a cold winter day are taking this seriously too -- we are literally standing up for culture."

The event signals the start of Riga's tenure as a "European Capital of Culture." See a video of the event at Nothing To Do With Arbroath.


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