Latvians honour Nazi allies from WWII

Latvians celebrated Legionnaires Day by paying tribute to World War II veterans who fought alongside Nazi troops.

Riga | Published:March 16, 2014 6:48 pm
People carry Latvian flags as they march to the Freedom Monument to commemorate World War II veterans. (AP) People carry Latvian flags as they march to the Freedom Monument to commemorate World War II veterans. (AP)

Hundreds of Latvians have celebrated Legionnaires Day — which their government abolished in 2000 — by paying tribute to World War II veterans who fought alongside Nazi troops.

After a church service in the Lutheran Cathedral in Riga, the capital, on Sunday, the marchers went to the Freedom Monument, where they laid roses in the red and white colors of the Latvian flag.

Police closely guarded the peaceful march.

A small group from Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority protested from a nearby park behind police barricades, shouting: “Shame!” and “Fascism will never end!”

During World War II, Latvian soldiers fought alongside Nazi troops in a Latvian Waffen SS unit against the Red Army, which invaded in 1944.

Many Latvians honor war veterans on Legionnaires Day, but Russians see it as glorifying fascism.

 

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