RIGA - A monument dedicated to the Soviet army was dismantled in the central part of Latvia's southwestern city Liepaja on Tuesday, the local government's spokeswoman Zita Lazdane informed LETA.
Since the bronze sculpture has been recognized to have artistic value, it will be handed over to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia for keeping.
The area around the Soviet-era monument was fenced off and officers of the state and municipal police were monitoring the situation in the area. To avoid provocations, the time of the monument's removal had not been announced to the public.
The monument is located next to an ice arena, in front of the city canal. Each year on May 9, people nostalgic for Soviet times gathered by the monument to mark the former Soviet Union's victory in World War II which Russia celebrates on May 9 until today.
The monument to the 1941 Defenders of Liepaja, popularly known as the Grenade Thrower, was unveiled in 1960. Its authors are sculptor Egons Zvirbulis and architect Janis Licitis. The square in which the monument was erected used to be called Parade Square.
As LETA reported, a law banning display of objects glorifying Soviet and Nazi regimes and requiring their removal came into effect in Latvia on June 23 after the Saeima passed it on June 16. According to the law, all objects glorifying totalitarian regimes in Latvia's territory have to be removed by November 15.