Estonian police banning public meetings supporting aggression before May 9

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March of the Immortal Regiment in Tallinn to celebrating Victory Day on May 9 2019.
March of the Immortal Regiment in Tallinn to celebrating Victory Day on May 9 2019. Photo: Sander Ilvest

The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board is prohibiting the organization of public meetings in Harju, West-Viru and East-Viru counties from Friday until May 9, if there is reason to believe that the meeting will incite hatred using the symbols of the aggressor state.

Head of the East-Harju police department Roger Kumm said that, last year, the police recorded the greatest use of symbols supporting the aggressor country on May 9, on nearly 200 occasions.

"The symbols currently worn by Russian soldiers who are committing war crimes have no place in free Estonia, this has also been confirmed by the court several times over the past year," Kumm said.

Therefore, on May 9 and the days before that, the Police and Border Guard Board is prohibiting public meetings where hostile symbols are most likely to be used, as they can lead to serious violations of the law and conflicts.

"This means that there must be no processions, gatherings and speeches that promote war and support the war crimes of the Putin regime in Ukraine with symbols, words and actions," Kumm said.

To date, no such public meeting has been registered.

Organizing a prohibited public meeting is punishable by a financial penalty or up to one year in prison. The police will arrest people who call on others to participate in a prohibited meeting or who help organize a prohibited meeting in another way.

"We are also keeping an eye on what is happening on the internet and especially on social media in order to prevent incitement of hatred or to quickly identify such cases," Kumm added.

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