PPA chief: No major disruption likely in Narva in near future

Director of the PPA Elmar Vaher.
Director of the PPA Elmar Vaher. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While there were likely to be minor incidents in Narva on Tuesday evening following the removal of the Soviet tank monument, and of other Soviet-era monuments in the vicinity, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) had no information that any major disturbances would happen, the authority's director general, Elmar Vaher, forecast – and indeed turned out to be correct about.

In an interview with ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Tuesday, which follows in its entirety, Vaher said that based on information received, the coming days should also be relatively calm in Narva.

What is the estimate. The removal of the tank did not quite pass off incident free?

The aim was to carry out the activity as quickly as possible, while limiting the movement of the public as little as possible. We took advantage of plenty of negotiation opportunities in order to do this, but we had to detain nine people, seven of whom it had already been previously agreed [that they were to be detained]. In these people's case, there was reason to believe that they were likely to agitate for mass disruption. The two other people had refused to obey PPA orders and had been taken to the PPA station to calm down.

Are they still in detention?

My understanding is that the latter two people have already been release, while the other seven are still incarcerated.

Were these seven detained preemptively?

Yes, the goal was that there would be no organization or incitement. In respect of these people, we have enough data that they do present such a risk, they did the day before, and have done for, months, even years. We prevented the worst case scenario from materializing – in other words crowds hitting the streets and starting to disrupt the operation.

You are in constant contact with Narva - what is the threat assessment for this evening and for the next few days?

I hope everything pans out smoothly. At the moment, I have no information to suggest any mass disruption is being planned. Smaller incidents could certainly happen; we are ready for that eventuality, and there is a sufficient number of PPA officers in Narva to respond adequately and to ensure a sense of security within city limits.

Who might a 'narvakas' protest about?

Narva is an Estonian city. I think that what might happen today would be more a case of a person under the influence of alcohol not being responsible for their actions, then taking out some of their anger and damaging some building or monument. That is probable. But certainly nothing major or crazy will take place in Narva today.

Could the reactions to the Narva tank event spread to other parts of Estonia?

We do not have information to suggest that. We are carefully monitoring the situation across Estonia, and will definitely remain on site tonight in Viimsi, where the tank has been moved to the war museum, to see what happens there and ensure that it is nothing bad. However, on the whole, the situation in Estonia is very calm – plus the weather is warm, and people feel good.

Are more symbolic monuments also under scrutiny?

Yes, via tech and PPA personnel. But above all else, we believe that Estonian people are reasonable. The people of Narva were also very, very reasonable.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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