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RIGA – People in Latvia marked the 99th anniversary of its statehood on Saturday with a wide range of festive events, local media reported.
The Independence Day celebrations started with a procession in Riga, which was held in silence to honor those people who almost a century ago won the independence and recognition of the Republic of Latvia. A flower-laying event by the Freedom Monument was held in the center of the Latvian capital, attended by Latvia’s top state officials, cabinet ministers and military officials, among hundreds of other people.
In the afternoon, a military parade in honor of Latvia’s Independence Day took place at the November 11 Embankment in Riga, with more than 1,000 troops of the Latvian armed forces, border guards, police officers, rescuers and young guards marching alongside soldiers from the Canada-led multinational NATO battalion stationed in Latvia, as well as servicemen from Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Britain, Lithuania, Sweden and the United States.
The military parade, which the Latvian Defense Ministry has described as the largest since 1991, drew thousands of spectators.
In the evening, several thousand people joined the November 18 torchlight procession, a tradition started by the National Alliance, a junior partner in Latvia’s center-right government coalition.
Various festive and cultural events dedicated to Independence Day took place also elsewhere in Latvia on Saturday.