US Embassy issues March 16 caution

The embassy of the United States in Latvia has issued an information release calling on its citizens to take care in central Riga on March 16, date of a controversial parade commemorating Latvian divisions of the Waffen-SS suring World War Two.

"The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that the Riga City Council’s Commission on Rallies, Protests, and Processions has granted permission for several events on March 16 in central Riga and in Riga’s Old Town from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.," says the bulletin. 

"Approved events include a memorial service at the Dome Cathedral followed by a march to the Freedom Monument. Though the U.S. Embassy anticipates the gatherings and associated counter-protests will be non-violent in nature, police will be on hand to monitor the situation."

"U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. 

"Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security."

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