Gallery: Protest at Maarjamäe Memorial highlights nuclear disaster threat

A group of anti-war protesters from Ukraine staged a protest on Wednesday morning at the Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn. The protesters wore gas masks to highlight the threat of a potential nuclear disaster, which may result from Russia's war in Ukraine.

"We are bringing the war back into the urban space, so what is still happening in Ukraine is not forgotten. In this place, which is thick with different layers of history, we are reminding (people) of the threat of nuclear catastrophe and of Putin. We are not protesting against the memorial, but we are using this architectural object, which has different meanings, to send a message and to highlight to people who are on their way to work that, while we are fine for the moment, if we get used to the situation, we may have to fight for our lives tomorrow," the protest organizers said.

The same group attracted international attention in April, when they organized demonstrations outside the Russian Embassy on Pikk tänav in Tallinn's Old Town, to draw attention to the violence, particularly rape, committed by Russian soldiers against Ukrainian women and children during the war.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for Russia to end its "nuclear sabre-rattling" and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to access the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, as fears grew over the safety of the site. Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant in March, since when it has been operated by Ukrainian technicians under Russian direction.

The future of the Maarjamäe Memorial has been the subject of recent discussions in light of the removal of Soviet-era monuments throughout Estonia. The government currently has no plans to demolish the memorial, instead intending to redevelop the site with the inclusion of information to explain its complicated history.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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