9maijs.lv NGO not to appeal local authority's refusal to allow May 9 events in Riga

  • 2022-05-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The nongovernmental group 9maijs.lv will not appeal the decision of the local authority's decision not to allow any public events at the so-called Victory Monument in Pardaugava, Riga, on May 9, LETA was told at the organization. 

Representatives of 9maijs.lv indicated that because of the amendments adopted to the Law on the Safety of Public Entertainment and Festivity Events, holding such events by the Soviet-era memorial is no longer possible, so 9maijs.lv sees no point in appealing the local authority's decision. 

9maijs.lv was the first this year to seek authorization for the annual Victory Day event at the monument in Pardaugava. Additionally, authorization was sought for three other meetings, of which two would be held in honor of those fallen in battles against Nazi Germany during World War II and one would be held to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin's military invasion of Ukraine. 

The government of Riga has not authorized any of these gatherings. Also, the Saeima recently adopted amendments to the Law on the Safety of Public Entertainment and Festivity Events effectively prohibiting such a Victory Day event in Riga.

"None of the announced gatherings will be authorized because of security considerations. Organizers of one of the meetings have withdrawn their application," the City Hall's spokeswoman Edite Matusevica said.  

As reported, the Saeima in April passed in the final reading a bill designating May 9 a day of remembrance for victims of the war in Ukraine.

The Saeima also adopted a proposal to ban fireworks on May 9 and 10, 2022.

The aim of the legislation is to draw the attention of Latvian society to Russia's military aggression in Ukraine and to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the struggle for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. According to the bill, May 9 will be designated a day of remembrance for the victims of the war in Ukraine, honoring the Ukrainian civilians and military personnel who have suffered or died as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On May 9, Latvian national flags with black ribbon will have to be raised at all residential buildings and buildings of legal entities, and Latvian national flags together with the Ukrainian flags will have to be raised at the Riga Castle, Saeima building and the Cabinet of Ministers building.

The bill also stipulates that no public events and festivities may be organized on May 9 in Latvia.

The authors of the bill also remind that on May 9, celebrations of the Soviet army's over Nazi Germany were organized in the former Soviet Union republics. In Latvia, too, part of society still celebrates Victory Day on May 9, even though this date has long been seen in Eastern Europe as the day of the occupation and annexation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union.

Before the pandemic, massive public events were organized at the monument to Soviet soldiers in Riga's Pardaugava on May 9, as well as in several other Latvian cities.