Daily: Tapa scene of weekend brawl between British soldiers and local men
A brawl broke out Saturday night involving several British soldiers and local residents and required the attendance of military police personnel, regional daily Virumaa Teataja reports.
Tauno Lempu, Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) patrol chief in nearby Rakvere, told the daily (link in Estonian) that the alarm center was notified at around 8 p..m that a fight had broken out in a Tapa eatery, involving both British soldiers and some local men, while military police were already on the scene and had the situation under control – which included the use of handcuffs on one local resident – by the time the PPA patrol arrived.
Tapa military base is home of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, which is U.K.-led, though organizationally a part of the EDF's 1 Infantry Brigade.
An eFP spokesperson told ERR News Tuesday morning that: ''We can confirm there has been an incident involving U.K. service persons in Tapa. It is being investigated and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.''
One local resident who asked to remain anonymous told Virumaa Teataja (link in Estonian) that the incident, which started with a verbal argument in a cafe, soon escalating into a physical fight involving most of a group of eight to 10 British soldiers who had been eating in the cafe and some local men.
The brawlers moved outside and towards a nearby supermarket, the witness added, referring to Tapa after four o'clock in the afternoon as a virtual no-go area due to large numbers of military personnel present and the quarrels which sometimes break out, though noone appeared to be hurt in Saturday's episode, the witness said.
While no charges have been pressed, Virumaa Teataja reports, Tauno Lempu said the PPA is evaluating whether there are any grounds to initiate proceedings.
The daily says that it has over the past year received reports of what was described as poor behavior on the part of off-duty allied soldiers at a local lake, on the Tallinn-Rakvere train, and in a Rakvere pub, though disciplinary measures had been instigated towards those involved, the paper says.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte