Police: May 9 gathering will mean supporting Russia in war

The State Police are preparing various scenarios relating to the events of May 9 by the Victory Monument in Rīga. This year, any gathering would be seen as supporting Russia in the current circumstances, said police chief Armands Ruks on Latvian Television March 24.

Known as "Victory Day", May 9 is a controversial date in Latvia. Many ethnic Russians see it as a day of commemoration and celebration, while most ethnic Latvians see it as the start of the Soviet occupation. Each year, massive gatherings take place at the Victory Monument in Rīga. There is no official commemoration day on May 9 in Latvia. The official Latvian day for commemoration of victory over the Third Reich is May 8, with May 9 designated Europe Day.

Police chief Ruks said that everything was in the hands of the Riga City Council in terms of allowing the gathering to take place or not, but he said that people who go this year, “which is not evil in itself”, should understand – such a gathering this year would be seen as a support for Russia, its aggression, and a contribution to dividing the society.

“Everyone who cares about this situation – by going, you will give power to the aggressor who will be watching what is happening in Latvia,” Ruks said.

He personally believes that people in Latvia should not glorify and show support for Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Rīga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis said earlier in the week on LTV that he would be against the event and plans to deny the application of a mass gathering at the Rīga City Council. President Egils Levits also said on Twitter that "May 9 is the celebration of the aggressor country, Russia. It is not the celebration of Latvia. Celebrating will mean supporting an international offense. It is not permissible. Latvia will commemorate the victims of World War II on May 8, like the rest of Europe."

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