Twenty-six detained in relation to May 9 in Latvia

Until Tuesday 23:30, police had detained a total of 26 persons throughout Latvia in relation to May 9 provocations. 38 administrative and four criminal cases have been launched, the State Police said.

According to a law adopted by the Saeima in April this year, it is prohibited to organize public events – meetings, walks or pickets – on May 9, and fireworks are also prohibited.

Deputy Chief of the State Police Andris Zellis said: “We will pay attention to the sites of former Soviet-glorifying monuments, there could possibly be gatherings. Also laying flowers in these places will be seen as glorifying military aggression, and will not be allowed to prevent assembly and development of prohibited measures.”

Police did also point out that laying flowers at military cemeteries was not a prohibited act.

Police indicated they were ready for any development scenario on both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Those who have information on provocative or illegal activities planned or ongoing on May 9 are invited to report them by phone 110.

Most administrative infringement proceedings were related to laying flowers and placing prohibited symbols in places where Soviet monuments used to be. Further proceedings have also been launched on non-compliance with the legitimate requirements of police officers and letting off pyrotechnics.

Several persons were detained in connection with the alleged justification and glorification of military aggression and war crimes, while others were detained for other offenses, such as the use of alcohol in a public place, non-compliance with the legitimate demands of the police, and others.

Four criminal proceedings have also been launched on Tuesday. Of these, three have been launched for the justification of genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and war crimes.  The fourth criminal proceedings have been initiated regarding the blasphemy of the national symbol and are linked to the case of a damaged Latvian flag in Rīga.

On May 9 in Daugavpils, many residents went to set flowers at the memorial for Soviet army soldiers in Dubrovina Park. Previously, Dubrovina Park has been the main venue for the so-called “Victory Day” celebration in Daugavpils. People have also tried to place flowers in places where the Soviet monuments were demolished last year, which is not allowed. Many people have expressed confusion and anger.

In the meantime, Latvian Radio observed that the situation is relatively peaceful at different locations in Rīga. A few tulips were inserted into the Pushkin monument hat in Kronvalda Park. Many came and laid flowers by graves and monuments in Pokrova graveyard, where Soviet soldiers are buried.

The strictest surveillance is in Pārdaugava, Uzvaras Park, near the dismantled monument. Vehicle traffic is closed. People are walking through the park, but there is police presence around and within the park, and so far the situation is calm.

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