Latvians honor Nazi allies from WWII

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Associated Press

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 16 at 9:03 AM

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Hundreds of Latvians have celebrated Legionnaires Day — which their government abolished in 2000 — by paying tribute to World War II veterans who fought alongside Nazi troops.

After a church service in the Lutheran Cathedral in Riga, the capital, on Sunday, the marchers went to the Freedom Monument, where they laid roses in the red and white colors of the Latvian flag.

Police closely guarded the peaceful march.

A small group from Latvia's Russian-speaking minority protested from a nearby park behind police barricades, shouting: "Shame!" and "Fascism will never end!"

During World War II, Latvian soldiers fought alongside Nazi troops in a Latvian Waffen SS unit against the Red Army, which invaded in 1944.

Many Latvians honor war veterans on Legionnaires Day, but Russians see it as glorifying fascism.

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