Monday, March 15, 2010

Court lifts bans on March 16 legionnaire, ant-fascist activities

A Latvian court has voided a ban on all activities near the Freedom Monument on March 16, when a march by former Latvian legionnaires and a counter-demonstration are planned. The Riga City Council under mayor Nils Ušakovs of the Harmony Center, like his nationalist predecessor Jānis Birks, banned the march and counter-demonstration, citing unspecified threats that had been identified by law enforcement agencies.
Last year, the march and opposing activities took place last year in defiance of the ban, with a heavy police presence. The 2009 ban was supported by a lower court (the same institution that lifted the ban this year) but was overturned almost a year later by an appeals court. Apparently that decision, balanced against evidence that possible disorders could take place, was the reason that the lower court lifted the ban this year.
In all likelihood, the march and counterdemonstration will take place (this blogger is in Stockholm for much of the day and won't be able to make a direct report) with police keeping both sides apart.
Supports of the Latvian Waffen-SS legionnaires (most living veterans are in their late 80s) maintain that the soldiers drafted by the Germans were not ideologically Nazis and fought to prevent a return of the Soviet occupation that saw 15 000 Latvian citizens deported to Siberia on June 13-14, 1941/
The ant-fascists argue that fighting on the side of Nazi Germany for whatever reasons should not be "glorified" by public commemorations. They point to a certain overlap of the manning of the Latvian Legion (largely drafted) with members of the Latvian Police Battalions, which were formed earlier and participated in actions against partisans and civilians in Belarus and Russia.


Anonymous said...

Latvians was fighting for thy country!

TRex said...

I'm of the view that it's an interpretational fight between the Latvian Nationalists and the Russian Stalin revisionists with outside vectors trying to take advantage to promote their own points of view.

It's too bad when I was on the train from Tukums today there was anti jewish graffiti at the Sloka station (opposite the pink side). That stuff should be painted over right away.

But it won’t. A shame really.