Russian fascist symbols removed from roadside

Police continue to receive reports about the public display of symbols glorifying Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, in particular the prominent use of the letters 'Z' and 'V' as used on the invading force's war machines.

More than 580 such cases were registered last year and though the frequency of such incidents has been decreasing, new ones do surface from time to time. One such case was recorded this week on the side of the A8 highway from Rīga to Jelgava.

The letters Z and V appeared spray-painted onto the bus stop "Olaines stacija" on the side of the Jelgava highway at the beginning of this week. One of the first to pay attention to it was Atis, a driver and a regular member of the acclaimed "Twitter convoy" sending vehicles to Ukraine to help that country's defenders.

"On Tuesday, I noticed this while driving from Riga. And I called 110, which is indicated on the police cars as an emergency phone number. They accepted it, understood everything. They said that they would hand it over to the Olaine municipal police," said Atis.

But "nothing had been done there by Wednesday, so I called "Latvian State Roads". They answered me that it is an "A" category road, and according to [the rules], they needed to inspect it only within a week. When it would be put right, they didn't know how to tell me that at all," said Atis.

Atis complained about the slowness of the responsible authorities to the organizers of the "Twitter convoy", who raised the alarm about it on social networks.

The local government of Olaine region in turn informed both the State Police and Latvian State Roads, which are the owners of the bus stop. 

However, even by Thursday morning, when Latvian Television arrived at the bus stop, the prohibited symbols were still visible.

Shortly after the arrival of LTV, representatives of Latvian State Roads and a road maintenance company also arrived to survey the situation. They promised that in the future they would react more quickly in such cases than to ordinary graffiti or petty vandalism.

"Perhaps we should also internally evaluate that when there is information about Nazi symbols, the evaluation of these works should be transferred to the quick response," said Verners Akimovs, board member of Latvia State Roads.

Employees have also been told that in similar situations, the management must be informed quickly, he added.

The company invites residents to report similar incidents to the information phone number 80005555 or to the State Police on 110.

After the arrival of company representatives on Thursday morning, the technical staff with buckets of paint and paintbrushes were soon there as well, and soon the stop was back to normal.

The State Police has started an administrative violation process for this case for the use of symbols glorifying military aggression and war crimes in a public place. The person responsiible is liable to a fine of up to 350 euros.


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