(Reuters) - Latvian police prevented a procession from going
ahead on Thursday to mark the 1941 arrival of Nazi troops
in Riga, although some people laid flowers in a commemoration
criticised by officials and Jewish groups.
The prime minister, foreign minister and president had condemned the plan to
mark the entry into the Latvian capital of
Nazi troops, who had driven out the Soviet
Army during World War Two. Nazi hunter Efraim
Zuroff had led Jewish condemnation.
Police prevented the event from going ahead as its organiser Uldis Freimanis
did not attend it, municipal police chief
Janis Gedrushevs told reporters.
Latvian law, a political procession cannot
go ahead without the main organiser being
Security Police, which is responsible for
domestic security, said it had called in
Freimanis for questioning, meaning he could
not attend the event, leading to its ban.
50 people, mostly pensioners, later went
to the centrally located Freedom Monument
and put flowers by it.
are not glorifying Nazism," Edgars Dambitis, 68, told Reuters. "Both (the Soviet and German armies) were occupiers."
German invasion in 1941 followed a year of
Soviet occupation, during which Latvia was
forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union
and many Latvians were shipped to Siberia,
people cheered the arrival of Nazi German
troops in the streets of Riga, but soon after
they entered the country the mass slaughter
of Jews began. The 1941 arrival of the Nazi
troops has never before been commemorated
publicly in Latvia.