March 16 procession takes place in Rīga

Several hundred people participated in a controversial parade through the streets of the Latvian capital, Rīga on March 16, Latvian Television observed.

The unofficial event in remembrance of members of the Latvian Legion, units of the Waffen-SS in the World War Two, passed off peacefully. There was an enhanced presence of law enforcement, but no violations were observed. The participants laid flowers at the Freedom Monument.

A less controversial commemoration of those who fought in the Latvian Legion also takes place on March 16 at the regimental cemetery in Lestene.

Latvian military and defense news portal sargs.lv has published an article by Jānis Tomaševskis, Head of World War II History Department of the Latvian War Museum explaining some of the controversial aspects of the Latvian Legion's history. The Latvian government's official position on the March 16 events are available at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To learn more about the historical events that led to the formation of the Latvian Legion, LTV has a short documentary film available, which can be viewed below.  The year is 1943 and the Nazi occupation of the country which followed hot on the heels of the Societ occupation of 1940. It led to the formation of the Latvian Legion as combat units of the notorious Waffen-SS - the results of which resonate to the present day.

"Should we honor or condemn them, keep silent or search for excuses?" the documentary pointedly asks.

 

 

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