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VE-Day celebrations to be held in Riga

May 09, 2012, 6:29 UTC+3

The action was initiated by the For Equal Right human rights movement

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RIGA, May 9 (Itar-Tass) —— Victory Day celebrations will be held at the Monument to Soviet Liberators in Riga on Wednesday.

Two public organizations, and Rodina (Motherland), applied for permits to hold VE-Day celebrations in Riga. The program offered by will begin at the Monument to the Liberators of Riga with a telecast of a military parade on Moscow’s Red Square. After that, foreign diplomats and Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs will lay flowers and wreath to the monument. The ceremony will be followed by a concert that will feature popular groups from Latvia and other countries, a military band from Scotland and soloists from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. The Rodina organization plans to hold a traditional march from downtown Riga to the Monument. It is expected that about 150 people will take part in the march.

During the festivities, people will be offered to take part in the action Citizenship to All Non-citizens, which aims to grant all the republic’s residents, mostly Russian-speakers, the citizen status. The action was initiated by the For Equal Right human rights movement. Organizers plan to collect notarized signatures to call a national referendum on the issue.

“We, children and grandchildren of the winners must do our best to ensure equal rights to our veterans. Thanks to them we are seeing the 67th spring without war. They paid a too high price for our peaceful life. So let us give them a present and collect signatures enough to have our grandfathers become citizens of Latvia,” human rights activists say.

May 9 is not an official holiday in Latvia, although a larger part of the population, primarily Russian-speakers who account for about 40 percent of Latvia’s residents, celebrate the Victory Day. Each year, thousands of people come to the Monument to Soviet Liberators to lay wreath and congratulate veterans.

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