Riga – A controversial commemoration of Latvian troops who fought on the German side in World War II took place peacefully on Wednesday, thanks to a large police presence on the streets of the capital Riga.
Interior Minister Linda Murniece told the German Press Agency dpa that police had worked hard to ensure the public’s right to free expression and safety.
Critics have decried the event as a glorification of Nazism, and there has been concern that it casts a shadow on the international perception of Latvia.
Murniece denied that the event damaged her country’s reputation.
‘Each side has its opinion and is free to express it,’ she said. ‘Of course it would be preferable if we could have a lower level of policing, but we must ensure the safety of everyone in Riga.’