Latvia removes controversial Soviet monument

Latvia takes down a Soviet-era monument in Riga following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite protests from the Baltic state’s ethnic Russian minority to keep it.

Demolition machinery is used to remove the 79-meter (259-foot) World War II memorial, which has become a rallying point for pro-Kremlin supporters in Latvia, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

Latvia, like fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania, is a NATO and EU member that has shown strong support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.

Built in 1985, the Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders featured statues of soldiers and a woman surrounding a central obelisk.

Local officials were forced to take down the monument after parliament voted to remove all remaining Soviet statues, plaques and bas-reliefs by mid-November.

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