Prime minister: Police did not use undue force at Freedom Square protest

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Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Source: ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas says the recent actions of the police during demonstrations against amendments to an act which would boost the authority's scope to enforce COVID-19 restrictions did not constitute an unreasonable show of force.

Responding to questions at the Riigikogu Wednesday, Kallas said that while demonstrating is legal, the dispersal requirement applies, as it does to all large gatherings, which means the Police and Border Guard (PPA) did not exercise undue force in ensuring restrictions were adhered to.

Several people were detained at Sunday's protest in Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square) in Tallinn, against the amendments to the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act (NETS).

The PPA's actions were also consistent with threat assessments, she added.

The PPA voiced concerns that a lack of clear leadership among Sunday's assembled protestors heightened risk and made the crowd's potential actions more unpredictable.

Kallas was responding to a question from Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader and MP Martin Helme, who has called the PPA's actions disproportionate.

Kallas said that when rules have been imposed on a society, it is in the interests of those who abide by them that those who do not follow the rules be held accountable, noting also a feeling of anxiety in society which she says is the result of frustration caused by the coronavirus. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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