No ministers to parade on March 16 vows PM

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Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma is confident that this year none of her Cabinet ministers will take part in a controversial procession in downtown Riga on March 16, the date for the unofficial commemoration of Latvian soldiers who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in World War II.

"I have no worries about the ministers' conduct," the prime minister told journalists Tuesday.

The premier indicated that all ministers had agreed to refrain from going to the Freedom Monument on March 16.

“The date for the commemoration of all [fallen soldiers] in our country is November 11. And everyone who wants to honor the fallen soldiers is free go to Lestene Cemetery [in western Latvia], which some of the ministers will do,” said Straujuma.

“Ministers will not take part in events that might prompt provocations,” she said.

Einars Cilinskis of the nationalist conservative National Alliance was sacked as Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister when he took part in the March 16 procession in Riga which commemorates the Latvian Legion, combat divisions of the Waffen-SS.

Latvian Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs, also from the National Alliance, said recently that he was planning to visit the soldiers’ cemetery in Lestene and later lay flowers at the Freedom Monument in Riga on March 16.

Earlier this week Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis warned that the risk of clashes between marchers and demonstrators was higher this year than in previous years.

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