PPA chief: The state must establish itself if a company starts bullying it

Police officers outside MEM cafe in Tallinn on November 30, 2021.
Police officers outside MEM cafe in Tallinn on November 30, 2021. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher said that the police did not overreact in closing MEM Cafe last week for coronavirus restriction non-compliance, because the state had to establish itself against a company, which deliberately disregarded the rules.

"We must all take the situation we are in into consideration. I as a regular citizen, must also abide by different rules now then two years ago. It is a civic obligation of each citizen to do all you can to stop the infection from spreading. That place (MEM Cafe - ed) did everything the exact opposite way," Vaher said on ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" on Monday morning.

The PPA chief added that the cafe's actions were not accidental, but deliberate. "And if one company begins bullying the state, the state has nothing else to do but establish itself."

Vaher pointed out that the police only reacted in larger numbers on the first day of the cafe closing for business due to coronavirus restriction non-compliance. A security company took over for the PPA after that. "Everything has gone well so far. The decision was the correct one - take power into your own hands for a moment and then give it back," Vaher said.

After the cafe was closed last Tuesday, a large crowd of people congregated outside the cafe in the evening, expressing support for its owner. Lukk said the names of the police officers on the scene were figured out, after which people sent them threats and insults.

Vaher noted that police patrols monitor the cafe during nighttime, when the security company is off work. The PPA is ready to react if the security company calls for it.

The PPA chief also responded to a question about the board cutting the work of some of its service offices in small towns from five days a week to three. Vaher said that since the board must make cuts and the average Estonian wage is "getting away from them", there were no other options.

"We did it to not reduce the quality of our life saving services, whether it be domestic violence, gun events or other situations where people's lives are in danger," Vaher said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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