Legionnaires day passes peacefully

  • 2009-03-16

Several hundred people braved the cold to support or protest the Latvian Legionnaires Photo by: Monika Hanley

RIGA-Contrary to expectations, eventscommemorating the Latvian Legionnaires who served in the German army duringWorld War II went smoothly.

Veterans and supporters laid flowersat the FreedomMonument and sang the national anthem.

A large amount of police were presentto ensure security and public order.

About 13 people protesting the eventwere detained by police. Shouts of "Hitler Kaput" were heard as an illegalsymbol, the former Soviet Union flag, wasunrolled. One person was detained for attempting to fight, however police didnot investigate political affiliation.

Tatjana Zdanoka told press that thepolice have detained RigaCity lawmaker ViktorsDergunovs and anti-fascist leaders Eduards Goncarovs and Josefs Korans.

A total of 140,000 people were calledup to form the Latvian Legion and about 50,000 of them died in the war ordeportations following the restoration of Soviet rule in Latvia.

In 1950 Washingtonpublished a declaration about Baltic SS legions having being special units tobe distinguished from other German SS troops and not regarded as movementsharmful to the United Statesgovernment.