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Latvian minister says stadium could replace Riga Soviet memorial

October 21, 2013, 15:57 UTC+3
A Latvian Internet forum has gathered over 10,000 signatures in favor of demolishing the memorial
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RIGA, October 21 (Itar-Tass) - Riga's Memorial to Soviet Liberators is a symbol of invaders’ power, Latvia’s Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns said in an interview with local TV channel LNT on Monday. He said the monument did not belong in the centre of the Latvian capital and that it could be replaced with an international stadium.

“I think in the future of Latvian panorama, this Victory Park, this location and the memorial to Soviet Liberators of Riga should look otherwise," he said. "By the way, I was among the first who signed this initiative. I think this place, the centre of Riga and a cluster of major sightseeing near the National Library of Latvia, deserves something else. I suggest this would be a good location for a modern international stadium but we may also consider other options,” he said.

A Latvian Internet forum has gathered over 10,000 signatures in favor of demolishing the memorial. According to Latvian law, an initiative that has gathered no less than 10,000 signatures of full-aged citizens of the republic is deemed a “collective statement” and is to be considered by Latvia’s parliament, the Sejm.

Russia's May 9 Victory Day is not an official holiday in Latvia, yet many, primarily Russian-speaking people that make up about 40 percent of Latvia's population, celebrate the event. About 200,000 people gather near the memorial every year to lay flowers and congratulate war veterans. 

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