More than two dozen residents of Latvia were arrested on Tuesday for violating a law against celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. The EU and NATO member’s police even seized a “Russia” jacket from a man in a wheelchair, and arrested another for wearing Soviet medals in public.
By 11:30 pm local time, Latvian police reported a total of 26 arrests, 38 misdemeanor citations and four criminal cases, according to the news outlet Delfi.
While most of the cases were recorded in Riga, the capital, multiple arrests also took place in Daugavpils. In one incident, a senior citizen described as “looking too young to be a veteran of WWII” showed up wearing a jacket with Soviet medals. When police told him to take it off, he resisted arrest.
Five people were arrested for laying flowers with “symbols of military aggression” at the Freedom Monument in the Daugavpils Victory Park. They were charged with “public use of symbols glorifying militaristic aggression and war crimes.” In the same park, police forced a man in a wheelchair to remove his jacket because it said “Russia.”
Two Russian-speaking men were detained at Dubrovinsky Park in Daugavpils after giving an interview to TV3. Their offense was expressing the opinion that fascists had returned to power in Ukraine, with EU support.
Last month, the Latvian parliament banned Victory Day celebrations as “belittling and undermining the values of Latvia as a democratic and national state, including the division of society, the glorification of war, military aggression and totalitarianism, as well as a false interpretation of historical events.”