The organizer of a planned Soviet Victory Day march at the border city of Narva, whose municipal authorities forbade the event, at least on public roads, following a police decision, has both hailed the city's decision and announced that the march will be held on the sidewalk instead, according to regional daily Põhjarannik, as reported by BNS.
Larissa Olenina, the event's organizer and deputy chair of Narva city council, announced on social media Thursday that the mayor and the city government acted correctly when when they barred the march, which marks the end of World War II and is a major celebration in the Russian Federation, following a police decision on a technicality.
"The main thing is that we maintain peace and act in accordance with the law," Olenina reportedly wrote.
"We will meet at Peetri Square at 1 p.m. We will have an excellent concert-meeting! There will be many songs, poems, beautiful balloons. Come along! Take flowers and portraits with you! Then we will progress onto a good, wide sidewalk, and proceed along sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, observing all traffic rules. Once at the common grave, we will conduct one more meeting," she continued.
"Irritate no one, do not yield to emotions, and do not react to the actions of provocateurs," she further advised.
Narva city government had decided not to give the procession the go-ahead on Wednesday evening, according to Põhjarannik.
Narva Mayor Aleksei Jevgrafov told the daily that the ban only concerns the movement of pedestrians in areas of vehicular traffic.
"The prohibition is based on my not having an approval from the police. Without it, I can't issue any such permit. This concerns all events, not just those of May 9," the mayor said, adding that the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) reversed their original decision on Wednesday afternoon, after 4 p.m., and refused their approval of the event.
The mayor also called on everyone to maintain the peace.
"There's no need to raise panic and unnecessary hysteria. The meeting will take place, people will be able to move, but it has to be in a cultured and polite manner, respecting and commemorating the veterans," Jevgrafov said.
According to the mayor, the organizer of the event was supposed to provide seven traffic organizers, who had the appropriate qualifications. The PPA, however, established that only two of the seven had said qualification, hence the last-minute decision and moving of the procession to the sidewalk only.
Victory Day is celebtrated in Russia, and other countries formerly a part of the Soviet Union, on May 9, the day when hostilities officially ceased in that combatant nation. Amongst other former western allies, the date is generally May 8, when, for instance, it is referred to as VE Day, in the UK, though not marked by any processions or events, other than on major milestone anniversaries.
Editor: Andrew Whyte