On 1915 the German army entered the territory of Latvia. Germans conquered all parts of Courland, Semigallia and Selonia. However Riga was not captured and the war front became stuck near the coast of River Daugava. The invasion sparked a large exodus of refugees from German occupied territories. Masses of Latvians fled to inner parts of Russia. Seeing this as a national tragedy patriotic minded Latvians applied to form national riflemen units in the Russian army. This was the beginning of Latvian armed forces. The units got their own Latvian officers. Without the help of these units Russian army would have a harder time defending Riga.
Germans made breakthrough on September 1917 when they crushed Russian armies and forced the river Daugava.
Estimated 17,000 people marched the streets of Riga on the 98th anniversary of Latvia’s independence
November 18, 1918, 98 years ago, was proclaimed the independent (back then from Russian Empire) Republic of Latvia - an event followed by a successful liberation war against Soviet Russia. A beautiful festive tradition to mark the annivarsaries of Latvian independence by a torchlight procession was founded in 2003 by a youth wing of a nationalist organization “All for Latvia!”, currently one of the biggest parties in Latvia that is also represented in the European parliament (the European Conservatives and Reformists group). Since then, this tradition gains ever growing popularity in Latvia, also attracting many inspired visitors from abroad.
This year, the march in Riga was also organized by the National Association “All for Latvia!” - “For Fatherland and Freedom / LNNK” (Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK”) and the association “Cherish a language and Latvia” (“Sargi valodu un Latviju”). According to the agency LETA, it gathered up to 17,000 people, among them many teenagers and families with kids.
The participants gathered at Karlis Ulmanis Monument nearby the intersection of Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street and Raina Boulevard. There was held a festive concert by a famous Latvian hard rock and heavy metal band “Livi.” Afterwards they walked along Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street to the 11th November Embankment and further moved along Kaļķu Street to the Freedom Monument.
November of 2016, “We are the Latvians!” slogan echoed along the streets of Riga loudly as never before.