Over a thousand Latvian Nazi veterans marched Tuesday through the freezing streets of Riga as part of a peaceful commemoration for their fellow World War II comrades, who died fighting alongside Nazi Germany.

According to News Agencies, the veterans, all in their late 80's and 90's, were the heroes for the day as the bystanders cheered them on their annual march to Riga's Freedom Monument at the center of town to lay flowers.

The city's council attempted this year to ban the annual procession, which was overturned at the last minute.

Heavy police forces guarded the veterans, who were at the same time heckled by dozens of people who turned up to protest the commemoration of former Nazi Germany's Waffen SS officers shouting, "No quarter for fascists" and "Nazis get out of Latvia," news agencies reported.

Efraim Zuroff, known as a foremost Nazi hunter, was in Latvia's capital for a Holocaust conference at the time, and joined the objections to the march saying that the 140,000 men who joined the Latvian Legion in 1943 to fight for the Third Reich should not be honored.

Tension surged in Latvia, which has a large Russian population whose relatives fought for the Soviet Union during the war.

In 1940 the country was annexed by the Soviet Union, and was seized by Nazi Germany in 1941 until the Red Army returned to the country in 1944.