Legionnaire event in March raises passions

  • 2006-02-15
RIGA 's The march of Latvian Legionnaires planned for March 16 is ratcheting up emotions among both nationalist and minority elements of the population, with both sides vowing to turn up en masse to voice their opinions.

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said security would be tight, and he called on the population "not to yield to provocations, because provocative extremists both from abroad and inside Latvia are taking advantage of this date."

The Legionnaires fought on the side of the Nazis but are still revered as heroes among many Latvians. Ethnic Russians, however, consider the Legionnaires to be pro-fascist.

Last year's march resulted in violent clashes after anti-Legionnaire demonstrators blocked the Legionnaires' path to the Freedom Monument.