AK: Government gives go-ahead for June Victory Day parade

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2019's Victory Day parade in progress in Tartu, the last time the event was held. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government has granted permission for the annual parade marking Victory Day (Võidupüha), June 23 to go ahead, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' reported Thursday night. While last year's event was canceled due to the pandemic, this year it will take place in the central Estonian town of Paide.

Traditionally organized by the Defense League (Kaitseliit), the parade comprises its personnel along with those of the regular Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) and NATO allies.

Over 1,000 people will be there on the day, including spectators and guests, while around 800 of this total will consist of military personnel on parade.

Victory Day marks the triumph of Estonian forces over Baltic German adversaries on June 23 1919, at the Battle of Cēsis, in Latvia.

Known in Estonia as the Battle of Võnnu, combined Estonian and Latvian forces won a decisive victory over forces organized by the former Baltic aristocracy in both countries.

It is a national flag day and segues into Jaaniöö – midsummer's eve – that very night, and the Jaanipäev (midsummer's day) national holiday on June 24.

Last year's event was canceled; the government's emergency situation declared in response to the pandemic ended less than a month earlier, and uncertainty about this year's event remained until Thursday, with the cabinet decision.

The Health Board (Terviseamet) – the main authority tasked with ensuring coronavirus best practices compliance at public events – is in close contact with event organizers, while Defense League member Veebel (cf. Warrant Officer) Peeter Land said that rapid coronavirus tests would be administered to all participants ahead of the day's activities in Paide.

The Defense Leagues is also holding a heavy equipment display in Pärnu street in the same town, he said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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