[Latvia's government voted in favor of a] transition to a democratic and independent Latvia on May 4, 1990. This process was marred by several instances of Soviet aggression, most notably in January 1991, when five people were killed during an attack on the Latvian Ministry of Interior in Riga by units of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs Special Forces Detachment (Otryad militsii osobogo naznacheniya--OMON), commonly known as the Black Berets. The transition turned out to be much briefer than anyone could have expected, however, because of the failed Soviet coup of August 1991. Latvia declared independence on August 21, 1991. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union recognized Latvia's independence, and once again Latvia was able to join the world community of nations.