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Latvian court sanctions anti-fascist events on March 16

March 13, 2012, 16:01 UTC+3
This year, the Riga City Council has received seven requests for holding rallies on March 16
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RIGA, March 13 (Itar-Tass) — The Administrative District Court revoked the ban of the Riga City Council on March 16 rallies organized by local anti-fascists, local media outlets report on Tuesday.

On Monday, it also revoked the ban of the City Council on a picket on the same day in memory of victims of Stalin-era repressions. On Monday, veterans of the Latvian SS division “Daugava Hawks in Latvia” (Daugavas Vanagi Latvija') also appealed to the administrative district court, trying to contest the City Council’s ban on a rally in central Riga on Friday, March 16.

Earlier, in order to avoid possible provocations and unrest, the City Council banned any events on March 16, which Latvian nationalists unofficially mark as the Latvian Waffen-SS Legion anniversary day. The organization went to court trying to contest that ban.

This year, the Riga City Council has received seven requests for holding rallies on March 16. In particular, the Daugavas Vanagi traditionally filed an application for a rally, as well as two anti-Nazi societies – Autonomous Activity and Association Against Nazism.

Earlier, Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said that law enforcement agencies were ready to ensure law and order and prevent possible provocations on March 16. “I don’t rule out that barriers will be once again installed (around the Statue of Liberty), but I don’t want to unveil in detail security services’ plans. I can say that they are ready for March 16,” the minister said.

“Force will be used in case of necessity,” he said. Two Latvian Waffen-SS divisions were formed by Nazis in 1943. After Latvia had withdrawn from the USSR, March 16 used to be an official memorable date for several years. However, after marches of former SS-men in central Riga had triggered an extremely negative reaction both in Russia and in the West, the decision was taken to withdraw March 16 from the list of memorable dates.

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