Saeima endorses ban on Soviet and Nazi uniforms at public gatherings

The Saeima in the second reading on April 4 supported draft legislation to ban use of former Soviet and Nazi German uniforms at public meetings, processions and pickets.

The draft amendments have been proposed to the law on meetings, processions and pickets.

“People should understand that in our country wearing Nazi or Soviet uniforms and symbols at public events is unacceptable,” Artuss Kaimins (KPV LV), chairman of the Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee, said after the committee meeting earlier, adding that similar amendments are being planned also to the law on safety of public entertainment and festivity events.

Objections came from the Harmony opposition party. "An attitude like this is based on distortions of history. [..] It misleads the public and offends those who fought and prevailed against the Nazis in tough battles in World War II. It offends Soviet Army veterans who fought in the war, as well as the memory of partisans and underground resistance members," said MP Igors Pimenovs (Harmony).

Under the new legislation, use of Soviet and Nazi German uniforms (including stylized versions) will carry fines of up to €700 for individuals and up to €7,100 for legal entities. The respective penalties can also be imposed also for using Nazi or Soviet flags, coats of arms, anthems, swastika, SS insignia and Soviet symbols – the sickle and hammer and the five-pointed star.

Under the existing law, participants of meetings, processions and pickets are prohibited from using flags, coats of arms, anthems and symbols (including stylized versions) of the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

The draft amendments, which Saeima has yet to pass in the final reading, are expected to come into effect on January 1, 2020.

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