RIGA, March 6 (RIA Novosti) – Lawmakers in Latvia’s capital, Riga, voted Thursday to allow a controversial commemoration of Latvian troops who fought on the German side in World War II as well as an anti-Nazi protest rally on March 16.
Riga city executive director Juris Radzevics said supporters of Nazi veterans had submitted requests to hold a march in downtown Riga while anti-Fascist activists had asked permission to organize a protest rally near the Freedom Monument, where former members of the Latvian Legion traditionally lay flowers at the end of their march.
March 16 is Legionnaires Day in Latvia. Although it is not an official public holiday, parades in honor of the 140,000 men who fought in combat units of the Waffen-SS, are held in Riga every year.
These parades are mirrored by protests held by anti-Fascist activists and organizations.
The perceived glorification of Nazi collaborators has created a deep rift within Latvian society and sparked harsh criticism worldwide.