No major incidents near Soviet monument in Rīga

Members of Latvia's large Russian minority gathered in Rīga, Uzvaras park, on May 9 to mark the end of World War II and the role of the Soviet Union in victory over Nazi Germany, the so-called 'Victory Day'.

Normally, the monument in Uzvaras park is attended by thousands and the day is celebrated with loud festivities. This year however, any organized gathering or celebration is banned, and the central monument itself is fenced off. As reported several times before, authorities like the State Police and State Security Service have warned against visiting Soviet monuments on May 9 as it might be viewed as support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its neo-Stalinist revisionist interpretation of history.

As observed by LSM, the flow of people to and from the monument was rather steady but mostly quiet. Individuals came with flowers and placed them near the monument, as far as the fenced territory would allow.

According to the newswire LETA, representatives of the Russian embassy including the ambassador Mikhail Vanin had visited the monument. Members of the political parties Harmony and Latvian Russian Union were also seen.

An enhanced police presence was observed around the monument and the adjacent streets.

Across the whole country, the police have detained a total of 13 persons by Monday evening in connection with 9 May evets and initiated 28 administrative violation proceedings, the State Police was informed.

Most of these people were been detained for using and refusing to remove the St George ribbon, which is deemed to glorify military aggression and war crimes.

In turn, out of 28 administrative violation proceedings, most were initiated in Latgale region, of which 12 were initiated in Daugavpils, and one in Rēzekne.

The State Police noted that some violations related to being in a public place under the influence of alcohol, petty hooliganism and non-compliance with an official's legal instructions or obstruction of an official's activities.

Until 18.30, law enforcement officers had issued warnings to at least 84 people in the vicinity of Victory Park alone. These people followed the instructions given by the police and removed the offensive symbols.

Police will continue monitoring people's activity. Vehicle traffic around the park is prohibited until midnight.

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