Gallery: Formal flag raising ceremony at Toompea

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Estonia's restoration of independence, the national blue-black-white flag was raised in the Governor's Garden on Toompea, Tallinn, on Friday early morning.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said in her speech that she is reminded by things happening in the world that nothing should be taken for granted and that Estonians have much to hold, develop and be thankful for.

"Equal rights and opportunities for women and men. Everyone's right to be critical and voice their opinion. Freedom of speech, freedom of action, freedom of movement," the prime minister said.

"Of course, we must remember that freedom also means responsibility, an obligation to help others, their lives and their freedom," Kallas said.

Speaker of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) thanked those who helped Estonia gain its independence 30 years ago. "Thirty years ago today, we woke up in Estonia with a dream to live in our own state according to our own will. On that very day, at 11.03 p.m., it became true. 69 women and men who represented us made a decision that had a great impact on our future and unanimously restored the independence of the Republic of Estonia.

"As a result of the work done during the days and nights that followed, we can wake up in our country today with confidence that we can live in Estonia according to our own will for ever," the Riigikogu speaker said.

Speaker of the Althing (Parliament of Iceland) Steingrimur J. Sigfusson also spoke at the ceremony. Iceland was the first foreign country to recognize Estonia's restored independence on August 22, 1991. "I welcome the opportunity to attend the events today in your beautiful capital Tallinn, commemorating this important milestone in the history of the Republic of Estonia. I remember clearly the historic events three decades ago. I was a young member of Althingi and a minister in the government of Iceland during the turbulent times leading to restored independence of Estonia and the other Baltic republics," Sigfusson said.

"Iceland's acknowledgement of Estonia's independence was newer withdrawn during decades of Soviet rule, as reiterated in a parliamentary resolution in support of the Baltic independence struggle, passed unanimously in Althingi in December 1990. Thirty years have passed since Estonia regained its rightful place as a sovereign and democratic state in the family of nations. With firm basis in your history and culture, supported by the will and dedication of your people, you have progressed immensely since the historical events thirty years ago," the Althing speaker said.

Ants Veetõusme said words on behalf of the August 20th Club and archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Urmas Viilma said the words of blessing.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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