30 June 2010
A parade, planned for 01 July, to commemorate the anniversary of German troops invading Latvia during World War II , has received the go-ahead from a Latvian court. The district court in Riga overturned an earlier ban of the event imposed by Riga’s City Council. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Aivars Ronis said in a joint statement that they were "puzzled and upset" by the decision of the district court. "The Latvian government respects human rights guaranteed by the constitution and the court's independence, but freedom of expression cannot extend to Nazi propaganda," the two leaders said.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is due to visit Latvia on 04 July to take part in a commemoration of the Holocaust during which Riga's Jewish population was nearly wiped out.
Unlike a parade in March which commemorates Latvians who fought on the German side during World War II and which is a cause of controversy, 01 July 1941, was the day when Hitlers German forces entered Latvian territory, which had been annexed to the Soviet Union under the terms of the then-secret pact between the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Germany, Molotov and Ribbentrop.
Uldis Freimanis, who applied for the 01 July march, said he wants the event to be a counterweight to the Russian Victory Day, which is celebrated annually on 09 May.
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