Opposition leader in support of defiant entrepreneur

Chairman of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) Martin Helme. PHOTO: Remo Tõnismäe

Chairman of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) Martin Helme voiced support for restauranteur Elvis Brauer who refuses to comply with government orders in his establishments on the “Otse Postimehest” webcast on Monday.

Citizen Elvis Brauer, owner of MEM Café, who has recently come under heightened media attention, belongs to EKRE ranks. As party leader, how do you comment on Brauer’s conduct?

I stand behind Elvis as does the party. I have spoken to him over the phone and I commend him and the fact there are people in Estonia willing to stand up for their fundamental rights and refuse to be placed under coronavirus tyranny. The government could not afford this policy had Estonia more people who stick to their principles.

You are commending people for refusal to follow government orders?

I completely agree with him because the government’s order is illegal. The conduct of the police infuriates me. The person is fined every single day! Even before the previous fine’s due date. And how he is being refused documents. It is nothing short of glaring misuse of authority and violation of every single law in Estonia. Something like that must not be allowed. People’s reaction – how a fund to support Brauer has taken in €54,000 in a matter of days – should encourage others to stand up for their rights.

What would you have done as a member of the government when a public figure is urging civil disobedience?

I was a member of the government and we made none of the decisions the cabinet today has made. Masks were recommended as opposed to mandatory. We did not discriminate against people. We did not split people into good guys and bad guys based on what kind of treatment they preferred. Lockdowns, when in order, were universal. Testing meant that everyone had to get tested. That is to say measures were proportional and applied to everyone.

We did not divide people into camps or arbitrarily strip a part of them of their civil rights. People in the military, police or hospitals were not terminated for failure to comply with government orders.

The reason was very simple. We asked ourselves whether people would understand and agree to such demands. It seems the government today is asking itself neither of these questions.

Could the government taking a step back and allowing a negative test result in place of the Covid certificate again help manage tensions?

I believe it is absolutely necessary. Let us keep in mind that we can already hear it suggested that the so-called double-dose vaccination will soon count for nothing and a third shot will be required… This would see our vaccination rate drop from 62 percent to 30 percent of the population.

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