Estonian MEPs in trouble with Strasbourg police
Estonian MEPs Riho Terras and Jaak Madison were involved in an incident in Strasbourg on Wednesday that culminated in the police intervening.
There are different versions of what transpired in Strasbourg. It has been suggested an unseemly incident that required police prevention occurred.
Riho Terras, who arrived in Tallinn through Frankfurt on Friday, told ERR at Tallinn Airport that the incident was caused by the fact he and Madison were not allowed to enter a nightclub because of how they were dressed.
"I was not let in because of my attire," Terras said but failed to answer what precisely was found wrong with the way he was dressed.
Diplomatic sources suggest that one of the MEPs insulted the bouncer of the Live Club nightclub in Strasbourg at around 5 in the morning, while the other got into a scuffle with police after they arrived. Terras refuted the claims.
"I called the police because of a misunderstanding. But it ended without there being any racial component there."
The MEP said the police arrived but overreacted. He did not elaborate.
"And that was the end of it. No one has accused me of anything," Terras told reporters.
He added that he has not been charged by the French police. He also confirmed that MEP Jaak Madison (EKRE) was with him. "But he will offer his own comments."
Madison: There was no hitting or racism of any kind
Speaking to ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Friday afternoon about the events of the early hours of Thursday morning, Madison said that he had decided to go out with his good friend Riho Terras and a Dutch colleague following a productive workweek.
Upon reaching a bar- or club-type establishment in Strasbourg's city center, a pointless exchange of words occurred between a local security guard and Terras regarding the latter's clothing, he described. Allegedly the issue had been whether it was suitable for Terras to enter the entertainment establishment in the jacket he was wearing. Madison left Terras to argue with the security guard and entered the establishment himself. When he came out later, he discovered that as the two sides had not come to an agreement regarding who was right, Terras himself had called the police.
"Info as though the police had been called on Riho or me is not true," Madison confirmed. According to the EKRE MEP, however, the police to arrive on the scene hadn't been the friendliest. Madison believed that the police overreacted, thinking that the MEPs had done something wrong.
"I as a bystander was left with the impression that while Riho had called the police to resolve the situation or to act as judge, so to speak, then the police to arrive were moreso of the attitude that Riho had done something wrong and guilty of something that we don't know," Madison explained regarding the alleged overreaction.
The argument allegedly lasted for about 15 minutes, following which everyone involved went their separate ways. "We left, the police left, and that was it," he said.
Asked by a journalist whether the MEPs had been consuming alcohol, Madison replied, "Maybe a little. It was later at night, but not excessively."
Madison said he had no idea where claims had come from that one of the MEPs had used racist expressions about the entertainment establishment employee, as described to the press. He likewise denied allegations of a scuffle with the police.
"No one has hit a police officer," Madison said. "Just as no one has said anything racist about anyone, no one has hit anyone else either."
As far as Madison was aware, no official complaints have yet been filed regarding the incident.
PPA: We have not been notified
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) told ERR that the French police have not informed their Estonian colleagues nor are they under any obligation to do so.
"We are usually only notified when additional information is needed or when parties to proceedings request it," the PPA spokesperson said.
Isamaa said on Thursday that Member of the European Parliament Riho Terras refuted claims attributed to him and referred to allegations pertaining to the May 4 incident in Strasbourg as absurd.
The press statement does not elaborate on the nature of said claims.
Riho Terras, colleagues and employees from the European Parliament were walking in the center of Strasbourg on Wednesday, May 4. The evening culminated in an incident that involved the local police and where accusations were made against several MEPs, including Riho Terras," the party communicated.
"The accusations and allegations are completely baseless. A Dutch national EU official who witnessed the incident has confirmed as much. I'm sure that law enforcement will get to the truth of it and we will have clarity," Terras said via the press statement.
Isamaa has promised to provide additional clarification if more circumstances come to light.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski