Defense League members to patrol Nõmme district of Tallinn Wednesday

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Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) crest. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Defense League (Kaitseliit) volunteers are to rehearse patrolling in an exercise in Tallinn's Nomme district on Wednesday evening, Baltic News Service reports, meaning the public can expect a larger volume of uniformed personnel on the streets than would normally be the case.

The exercise, which will last until around midnight, will deploy around 40 Defense League members, who will be wearing visible badges, the Defense League says.

Capt. Heigo Vija, the officer responsible for the safety and order of the organization of the exercise, said that: "We hope [the badges] will help alleviate concerns if local people see people in military uniform patrolling the area in the evening.We have also informed the police."

Capt. Vija added that care would be taken to avoid damage to the landscape – Nõmme is a heavily-forested area despite being a part of Tallinn – and infrastructure.

No motor vehicles, small arms or other significant equipment will be used either, in the course of the exercise, he said.

The precise nature and aims of the exercise was not reported.

The Defense League complements the regular Estonian Defense Forces and is entirely volunteer staffed. It recruits on a regional basis. In springtime, President Kersti Kaljulaid authorized the use of Defense League personnel in patrolling Saaremaa and Muhu, to ensure compliance with coronavirus restrictions and the smooth running of everyday life such as it was, at a time when Saaremaa was the hardest-hit region of Estonia in terms of COVID-19 cases.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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