Interior Minister: Police to heighten security on March 16

There is no information over any planned provocations on March 16, however the police will be working at a heightened security regime as the annual unofficial parade will be held commemorating Latvian soldiers fighting on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (Unity) told Latvian Television Tuesday.

Even though there's no information about any provocations, the possibility cannot be ruled out completely. The final decision over security measures on March 16 will be taken a few days before the event.

As of now three different organizations have applied to stage public events on March 16, including anti-fascist groups and people who want to commemorate the soldiers. 

March 16, known unofficially as 'Legionnaires' Day' is - along with Soviet Victory Day on May 9 - one of the most contentious dates on the calendar.

Caught between the superpowers during World War II and occupied in turn by Soviets and Nazis, similar numbers of Latvians fought on both sides.

The Latvian Legion comprised two combat divisions that were part of the Waffen-SS under the control of Heinrich Himmler rather than the regular German Army or Wehrmacht.

The parade, from the central Dom Cathedral to the Freedom Monument, has in recent years been contained by a massive police presence, while demonstrators have also been given the opportunity to have their voice heard via a loudspeaker system.

In 2014 Environment Minister Einārs Cilinskis (National Alliance) lost his job after he defied Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma's order that no ministers should participate in the parade.

The new PM Māris Kučinskis (Greens) previously said that the ministers from his cabinet won't be barred from participating in the March 16 events, however they'll have to do so outside work hours.

Kozlovskis also used his interview to say the Security Police is doing okay in monitoring possible Islam converts and people who want to illegally participate in other conflicts abroad, however it can't be ruled out that new cases won't appear in the future.  

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Most important