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Victims of World War II to be remembered at Uzvaras Park in Riga on May 8

RIGA - A public commemorative event will be held from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on May 8 at Uzvaras (Victory) Park in Riga to remember victims of World War II, LETA learned from the Riga City Council.

The organizer of the event is organization 9maijs.lv and about 1,000 people are expected to participate in it. The Riga City Council has authorized the event. Russian musicians are expected to perform at the event.

May 9 or the Victory Day, which in Russia is officially marked as the end of World War II and in Latvia is celebrated mostly by Russian-speakers, will start at 10 a.m. with a flower laying ceremony by the Victory Monument. As the organizers reported, the event will be attended by the organization's members, politicans, ambassadors and heads of other NGOs. The ceremony will be opened by Riga City Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony).

During the day, musicians from Russia, Belarus and other countries will perform, and the event expects to attract at least 10,000 participants, even though last year some 55,000 people participated in the Victory Day celebrations.

The Victory Day is celebrated in Russia and some other former Soviet Union countries on May 9, the anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazi army in World War II. Elsewhere in Europe, including Latvia, the defeat of Nazism is celebrated on May 8, the date that World War II allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany. On May 9, Latvia officially celebrates Europe Day.

Latvia's Russian-speakers widely celebrate the Victory Day on May 9 while ethnic Latvians tend to scorn this celebration because for Latvians this date means the beginning of the decades-long Soviet occupation.

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