Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Hundreds commemorate Waffen SS divisions in Latvia, anti-fascists outraged (PHOTOS)

Published time: March 16, 2013 13:36
Edited time: March 17, 2013 05:13
Download video (2.91 MB)

Veterans of the Latvian Waffen SS and their supporters marched in the Latvian capital Riga to honor their comrades killed fighting for Nazi Germany during World War II. Several arrests were made after the march walked into an anti-fascist demonstration.

The annual event has stirred controversy, not for the first time, sparking outrage both in Latvia and abroad as many consider it a glorification of Nazism.

Authorities in Riga had banned the parade in previous years due to security concerns. This year, the Riga City Council’s first Russian mayor, Nil Ushakov [Nils Ušakovs], also banned public gatherings on March 16, what many consider Legionnaires' Day, in order to prevent riots.

However, the council has allowed the demonstration this year, ruling that such gatherings pose no threat to public safety.

Riot police officers stand guard during the annual procession commemorating the Latvian Waffen-SS (Schutzstaffel) unit, also known as the Legionnaires, in Riga March 16, 2013.(Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

RT correspondent Aleksey Yaroshevsky, who is currently in Latvia, reported that Latvian SS veterans gathered at the freedom monument in Riga.

At the same time, a small group of mainly Russians protested behind barricades about 15 meters away. They blared war sirens and Soviet songs to disperse the crowd. Some chanted “Shame!” and “Nazism won’t pass!”

A large number of police units have been deployed to keep the two sides apart.

Three deputies of the Latvian Seim (parliament) – who are also members of a far-right Latvian political party – Raivis Dzintars, Imants Parādnieks and Jānis Dombrava, managed to break through the police cordon and damage one of the installations. They tore apart pictures of Nazi concentration camp victims.

Jānis Dombrava sustained minor injuries in a scuffle which police managed to stop. 

At least five people were arrested at the Saturday procession, police said.

Police officers arrest a man during the Latvian Legionnaire Remembrance Day, a force that was commanded by the German Nazi Waffen SS, as they commemorate a key 1944 battle on March 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Ilmars Znotins)

From 1998 to 2000, March 16 has been an official remembrance day in the country to pay tribute to the Latvian Legion.

The Legion was created in 1943 on orders from Adolf Hitler. In March of the same year, the Legion was already battling the Soviet Red Army near the town of Pskov. In total, about 150,000 soldiers served in its ranks.

Watch RT's Aleksey Yaroshevsky's report

Video: /files/news/1e/5c/b0/00/original_yarosh.asf

People hold Latvian national flags during the annual procession commemorating the Latvian Waffen-SS (Schutzstaffel) unit, also known as the Legionnaires, in Riga March 16, 2013.(Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

People hold Latvian and Estonian (R) national flags during the annual procession commemorating the Latvian Waffen-SS (Schutzstaffel) unit, also known as the Legionnaires, in Riga March 16, 2013.(Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

Comments (112)

 

Norbert Sachs 17.03.2014 18:39

Nazis = murderers, Sovjets = murderers. Deal with it.

Dievs sveti Latviju!

 

JacKal 12.03.2014 14:56

On this Latvian Legion Day nobody is supporting Nasism of Fascism - it is a day when Latvian soldiers are commemorated as they thought that they fought for the lesser evil between two. In 1941 Soviets deported thousands of people from Latvia including women and children (as the quotas had to be filled) to Syberia to prison camps in overcrowded cattle wagons. Many died on the way, others died because of the very harsh conditions in those camps and only few returned. So should have Latvians in 1943 (when Latvian Legion of Waffen SS was formed) fought FOR the Soviets within their ranks AGAINST Nazi?

Anonymous user 24.07.2013 21:41

Short time ago - the "anti-racists&q uot; waived soviet flags.. now they pretend to dislike communism. smh

View all comments (112)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us