On Thursday, 21 April, the Saeima adopted in the second and final reading urgent amendments to the Law on Meetings, Processions, and Pickets. The amendments prohibit the organising of meetings, processions, and pickets closer than 200 metres from any monument in the territory of Latvia celebrating the victory or memory of the Soviet military or its troops.
Previously, the Saeima adopted similar amendments to the Law on the Safety of Public Entertainment and Festivity Events as well. As stated by the authors of the Draft Law in the explanatory note, it is necessary to introduce similar restrictions for meetings, processions, and pickets for the purpose of protecting Latvia’s democratic political system and limiting the expression of ideology that poses a threat to the democratic legal system and state security of Latvia.
It is forbidden to propagate or celebrate events associated with Nazi or communist ideology, including the birthdays of proponents of these ideologies, dates commemorating battles and victories, and dates celebrating the occupation of free, independent countries or parts of their territories. In addition, the use of symbols that represent military aggression or war crimes is prohibited.
“With these amendments, our country not only renounces war propaganda, violence, Nazi and communist ideology, but also expresses solidarity with Ukraine and condemns Russia’s aggression,” stated Jānis Butāns, Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima, which is responsible for the progress of the Draft Law in the Saeima.
The amendments also grant additional rights to local governments, which may now prohibit an event based on the evidence that the event would involve the propagation of Nazi or communist ideology, war propaganda, military aggression, and the promotion of hate and dissent.
The amendments will enter into effect on the day following their promulgation.
Saeima Press Service