Latvia Banned Celebrations on May 9 except for Europe Day

EU | April 21, 2023, Friday // 10:10|  views

On Thursday, April 20, in two readings, the Saeima of Latvia adopted a law "On the ban on holding certain public events on May 9", banning all celebrations and celebrations on that day, with the exception of Europe Day events. When for such public events a permit issued by the municipal authorities is required, but in the text this right is taken away from them.

The decision from last year, defining May 9 as a day in memory of those who suffered and died in Ukraine, is preserved, the Latvian news agency "Delfi" reported.

The law was supported by 79 MPs (out of a total of 100), with the listed objectives being:

  • to protect the interests of the state and public security, prevention of disorder, protection of public health and morals
  • to prevent denigration and endangerment of the values of Latvia as a democratic and national state, including division of society, glorification of war, military aggression, totalitarianism, violence, as well as false coverage of historical events
  • to demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people, whose national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are threatened as a result of Russia's military aggression, and to honor the memory of those who suffered and died in Ukraine

The law stipulates that on May 9 it is prohibited to hold public entertainment and festive events, meetings, processions and gatherings in public open spaces throughout the territory of Latvia. The use of pyrotechnics is not allowed for 30 hours - around the clock on May 9 and until 7 a.m. on May 10. "May 9 symbolizes the occupation and annexation of Latvia as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it is a day that a certain part of society celebrates as a day glorifying totalitarian and occupation regimes. Therefore, it is in the interest of the Latvian state to silently express a condemning position against the illegal policy of the occupying power and the crimes committed by both the USSR and Nazi Germany, to promote public understanding of the events on the territory of Latvia during the Second World War and the post-war period, to strengthen the historical memory of society, to prevent false, inaccurate and tendentious coverage of historical events, thereby creating a common understanding of May 9," is explained is the reasons for the law.

It is also emphasized that the state has a duty to take care of its own security under all circumstances, and the precautionary principle must be applied in the protection of state security, which in a democratic and legal state means that one should not wait until actual damage is done.

"Justified suspicions about the possibility of such damages are sufficient for the state to take timely, effective and proportionate measures to prevent their occurrence," the text also says.

It also states that the military aggression undertaken by Latvia's border country (Russia) in Ukraine requires special attention to be paid to the obligation to protect national security and to consider new measures to protect national security, especially by referring to the fact that Russia's military actions against Ukraine are unprecedented and unjustified aggression in the 21st century in Europe, which has manifested itself in countless war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian armed forces.

"This is a gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which is in clear contradiction with Russia's obligations arising from the UN Charter and the mandatory norms of international law, as well as with the obligations that Russia undertook by signing the Budapest Memorandum and Commitment to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," the reasons for the law state.

It is also added that Russia is not only bordering Latvia, but also a country that has for a long time created greater or lesser threats to national security, including by implementing the Russian "policy of compatriots" in Latvia.

There is also a reference to the 2022 report of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which says that in the past year Russian policy has become openly hostile towards Latvia.

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Tags: Latvia, May, Law, Russia


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