Daily: Pro-Russian Activist Group Provided Support for October 9 Demonstration
A newspaper has said that members of a group known for its role in the 2007 Tallinn riots provided organizational support at the Center Party's demonstration on October 9 where a mock siege of the national government was staged.
Postimees said that its photos and videos have allowed it to conclude that members of the Night Watch organization - it named three - told people where to stand, received schoolchildren from Narva bused in for the event, distributed yellow vests to event security, and acted as a liaison between Center Party officials and the participants.
Center Party organizers have denied that the members of Night Watch played any official or pre-agreed role and Edgar Savisaar denied having a tie to them.
Members of Night Watch were acquitted of inciting the politically tinged 2007 riots and later awarded damages by the European Court of Human Rights for their detention. But counterintelligence agencies assert that Russia meddles in Estonian politics, using a 10-member group of extremists, often hostile to Estonia on principle, to pose as the representatives of popular opinion of the local Russian ethnic minority.
The October 9 rally also has more distant echoes. In 1991, Savisaar, then leader of the nationalist Popular Front, rallied Estonians to defend the government hill against the Intermovement, a Russophone anti-independence movement. Over time, the roles have shifted as Savisaar developed a deep support base among Russian-speakers in the capital, lending irony to the theme of last Wednesday's demonstration.