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Latvian PM confirms Soviet symbols ban to avoid May 9 unrest

April 21, 2015, 15:22 UTC+3 RIGA
Latvians consider May 9 the start of post-war occupation and celebrate Europe Day instead of Victory Day
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© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

RIGA, April 21. /TASS/. Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma confirmed on Tuesday that Soviet symbols will be banned on May 9 to avoid tension between ethnic Russians and Latvians on a calendar date having different meanings for many in that country.

She also urged residents of the capital, Riga, to exercise tolerance during ceremonies at the Monument to Soviet Liberators, saying extremist groups are eager to stage provocations.

Ethnic Russians mark May 9 to commemorate Soviet Union victory over Nazism at the end of World War Two. Latvians judge the day as the start of post-war occupation, celebrating it now as Europe Day.

"It is necessary to understand that it is impossible to use symbols of the Soviet Union or other symbols that may trigger provocations," the prime minister told Latvian television.

Russians account for about 40% of the population, many thousands flocking to the Riga monument on Victory Day to lay flowers and congratulate wartime veterans.

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