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Police clear out demonstrators guarding Haabersti willow

Early on Tuesday morning, police in Tallinn began clearing out demonstrators guarding a white willow in Haabersti slated to be cut down in the course of the reconstruction of an adjacent traffic circle.

At 6:47 a.m., two activists remained up in the tree itself and police weighed different options for luring them down. Dozens of police were on the scene, including riot police.

At 7:10 a.m., a rescue truck with a ladder arrived on the scene to safely remove the two activists from the tree.

At 7:48 a.m., a second ladder truck arrived. Rescue workers placed an inflatable mattress below the tree in case either demonstrator should accidentally fall from the tree.

One of the activists who had been tenting on site told ERR's radio news that the police arrived unexpectedly that morning. They had their telephone ready to call more people to the scene, but were unable to grab it. "Sad that things are resolved this way in our country," they commented.

Activists have remained on site for weeks guarding the willow from being taken down.

Last week, nonprofit MTÜ Tartu Pargid, Ühing Eesti Ting and Rinaldo Vahtel, who sought to stop the cutting down of a white willow located in front of Paldiski Highway 161 and 163, filed an application for interim measures with Tallinn Administrative Court.

Last Wednesday, the court gave the tree's defenders 15 days to eliminate deficiencies in their application for interim measures.

Police and representatives of Tallinn Utility Board had unsuccessfully previously ordered the activists defending the tree to leave.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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