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65 people detained during unauthorized legionnaires' demonstration

  • 2005-03-17
  • By TBT staff
RIGA 's Nearly 65 people were detained by the police officers on Thursday evening in Riga's center where several hundred supporters of nationalist groups Klubs 415 and the National Force Union had gathered for an unauthorized march remembering the Latvian Waffen SS unit or the so-called Latvian Legionnaires.

Among detained activists were also two leaders of Latvian nationalist groups -- Aivars Garda, a leader of the Latvian National Front and Viktors Birze, co-chairman of the National Force Union.
"Law enforcement officers detained at least 80 people, mainly organizers of the unauthorized gathering as well as those who disobeyed police orders," said Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars in his interview to Latvian Television. "It has not been estimated where, which and from where [people have been detained], but is known that Garda is among them. The disturbers of public order will be punished," Jaundzeikars added.

In her turn, State Police representative Ieva Zvidre told the BNS that police detained only 65 people, including several people who were wearing masks or speaking over portable radio transmitters. Several people were detained for drinking alcohol in public places.