President allows 150 Kaitseliit members to support work of border control
On Tuesday, President Kersti Kaljulaid permitted the Minister of the Interior to include up to 150 members of the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) to support the work of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) in restoring border control.
The defense league's duties will be primarily to support the PPA at the southern border where temporary roads closures hav been introduced and to assist police officers at border crossing points.
Based on the Law Enforcement Act, the Kaitsevägi (Defense Forces) and the Kaitseliit may be involved in the activities of the PPA with the consent of the President of the Republic and the government.
On Tuesday morning, Kaljulaid also spoke via telephone with Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) about the involvement of members of the Kaitseliit and general internal security.
Kaljulaid said it is clear that the current emergency situation and the restoration of movement restrictions have significantly increased the workload of the PPA.
"In this situation, public resources need to be used flexibly, and the involvement of the members of the defense league is something that has been practised in exercises and has been used exceptionally in previous years, However, I still think it is important that the PPA remains in the leadership and decision making role" Kaljulaid noted.
Members of the defense league have been issuing advice and checking for coronavirus symptoms at Tallinn airport and bus stations in Tartu and the capital since last week. The president said their role is likely to increase.
"This decision will increase their workload even further," she said. "I wish all of the members of the Defence League and the volunteers fortitude and good health at such a complicated time. And I'd like to thank those who have already made their own contributions as volunteers."
In accordance with the Law Enforcement Act, members of the Defence Forces and Defence League may be drafted in to assist the PPA, with the right to use force, with the consent of the President of the Republic and by decision of the Government of the Republic.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino