Authorities in Latvian capital permit march of Waffen SS legion veterans

From TASS, March 5, 2015

Russian-speaking anti-fascists will hold an action of protest the same day

Latvian Waffen SS legion veterans march

Latvian Waffen SS legion veterans march
© ITAR-TASS/Timur Subkhankulov

RIGA, March 5. /TASS/. City Hall in the Latvian capital Riga has issued permission to Latvia’s extremist organizations to hold public events on March 16, which is observed unofficially as the day of commemoration of the Latvian Waffen SS legion.

Russian-speaking anti-fascists will hold an action of protest the same day, the City Hall spokesman Ugis Vidauskis told reporters on Thursday.

Riga’s City Hall received four requests for holding public functions on March 16 this year. The organization of Waffen SS veterans, Daugavas Vanagi (the Daugava Hawks in Latvia) plans holding a traditional march of former Latvian legion soldiers and their supporters from among the young radicals to Freedom Monument in the downtown from 11:00 hours to 13:00 hours EET.

A meeting of Society in Support of National Warriors is to take place on the square in front of the Freedom Monument from 06:00 hours to 13:00 hours.

The Latvian Anti-Fascist Committee has scheduled an action of protest against the march of the legion veterans.

Igor Shishkin (Latvian spelling Igors Siskins), the leader of a radical nationalist center named after Latvia’s notorious Nazi collaborationist Gustavs Celmins, has filed a private request for permitting an action near the Freedom Monument on March 16.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said on Wednesday government ministers would not take part in the Waffen SS proponents’ march.

“All the ministers have consent on and understanding of the fact that the nationwide Day of Memory of Fallen Soldiers is November 11 and that’s why they’ll abstain from the potentially provocative public actions,” she said.

On the eve of March 16, 2014, the government passed an official decision to prohibit ministers’ participation in the public events organized by radicals.

This year, however, the Minister of Environment and Regional Development, Einars Cilinskis who represents the nationalistic bloc said he was going to join the march in spite of the ban. In the wake of his decision, Prime Minister Straujuma took a decision to dismiss him.