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FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM – monument by Indulis Ranka

Location: N56° 56` 22.9", E24° 6` 0.212"

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Although Latvia country was proclaimed in 18th November, 1918, its territory was still occupied. Fights for freedom were happening from 1918 – 1920. In 1919 there was a patriotic determination between the society to sacrifice everything and fight till the end to repel the attack of the enemies. Patriotic fighting spirit and excitement could be felt in all society, which in total consensus and self-denial sacrificed a lot and took many different duties to promote the victory.

At the end of the summer of 1919, German army in Latvia joined Russian army led by Pavel Bermondt who declared that he will fight against the Bolsheviks, although his real plan was to capture Baltic States, making it a Russian province. Germans could take lands here, and all the old privileges would be renewed.  

8. October was followed with an attack to Riga, which was stopped, but the conclusive fights were happening in November. At the beginning of October from 39000 soldiers, 33 canons and 173 chatterboxes, only 11500 soldiers with nine canons and 23 chatterboxes were participating in Southern front (against Bermondt forces) led by Jorģis Zemitāns. There were also two planes, one armoured train and three armoured cars. From these forces only 5000 soldiers were concentrated in Riga. In October gradual changes were happening in command of Latvian national army. J. Balodis became the commander in chief, but P. Radziņš became the head of the headquarters. 

After Torņakalns liberation in 11th November, 1919, the command of Latvian army decided to rapidly continue the attack on Bermondt forces in Zemgale to avoid stopping military action in territory of Latvia and Entente state involvement in process of peace talks. At the end of November Latvia declared war to Germany (announcing that both of them are in state of war), because as Bermondt army was under German mastership and German government approved that, then it was stated that Germany has attacked Latvia.  

Around 2000 Latvian army soldiers had fallen during the Bermondt fight and taking into account that around 100 soldiers fell during Pārdaugava liberation operation and Zemgale and Kurzeme liberation fights following after Pārdaugava liberation, this time must be valued as very essential time of Latvia fights for freedom. A monument made by sculptor Indulis Ranka was revealed in 2002 on Mūkusala street not far from the railway bridge as the reminder of these fights. The monument is made from roughly processed puce granite which is cut in two pieces. A silhouette of Lacplesa order star with three star motives in oak leaf crown is engraved on the part of the monument which is turned against Mūkusala Street. The other part is complemented with shadows of two doves’ symbolising soldiers and their heroism. A since made from railway ties are leading to the 2m high monument, reinforcing the rough feeling which reminds of destroyed Riga and the post-war difficulties.