PPA: Narva peaceful overnight following tank monument removal

Tuesday night passed largely peacefully at the site just outside Narva where a Soviet-era tank monument was removed from its plinth earlier in the day, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) says, with members of the public congregating both at the tank's former location and elsewhere remaining under control.

A total of 11 people were detained overnight, Taavi Kirss, senior law enforcement officer at the PPA's North Prefecture, told ERR, mainly due to aggressive or insulting behavior.

Kirss said: "The night passed relatively peacefully for us in Narva. We met with the regular challenges. A few more people congregated at the site of the former monument, and we conducted checks simply to ensure that the parking requirements were met," adding that these people numbered around 50-60 and some individuals had parked in forbidden zones.

The PPA were out on Tuesday in increased force daytime, but by evening had reverted to standard levels of resources, Kirss added. "After the day's events, we had to be prepared for any development of various incidents, but as yesterday demonstrated, everything went quite smoothly."

Exceptions to this were incidents at the site of the former monument where members of the public became more aggressive, also insulting PPA officers – both cause for detention.

These detentions totaled 11 and the individuals in question will be released once procedural steps are completed, Kirss added.

Kirss said members of the public are likely to congregate once again on Wednesday around the site where the tank, a Soviet-era T-34, was located, until it was removed Tuesday morning and transported to the war museum in Viimsi, near Tallinn.

At the same time, Kirss said he was certain that these gatherings would be peaceful, while the PPA would respond to any challenges where necessary.

The removal of the tank followed weeks of wrangling between local and national government, with the latter making the decision to remove the tank early Tuesday morning, after Narva's municipal government had opted out of making a decision.

The plinth on which the tank was placed has also been dismantled.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) had consistently called for the tank's removal as soon as possible, on the grounds that it glorified the occupation of Estonia by a foreign power whose natural successor is currently prosecuting a war in Ukraine, while Kallas' interior minister and foreign minister took the same line.

In April 2007, a decision by Kallas' party-mate, Andrus Ansip, prime minister at the time, to remove a bronze statue in central Tallinn and relocate it to a military cemetery across town – the statue was also a Soviet-era war memorial – led to several nights' rioting and looting, an outcome the state was anxious to avoid a second time around.

The PPA stated last year that insulting its officers is an offense under current law, at a time when protests over coronavirus restrictions were at their peak.

Source: ERR
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