EKRE files complaint against Indrek Tarand MEP with district prosecutor

MEP Indrek Tarand surrounded by protesters at an EKRE-organised protest in front of the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018.
MEP Indrek Tarand surrounded by protesters at an EKRE-organised protest in front of the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has filed a complaint with the North District Prosecutor's Office, demanding that the authorities investigate the behaviour of Indrek Tarand MEP at an EKRE rally outside the Riigikogu on 26 November. The police earlier rejected a similar complaint.

Before the Riigikogu's vote on a declaration of support of the United Nations' Global Compact on Migration, EKRE called for a protest outside Toompea Castle. Several prominent members of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) were present, as well as Indrek Tarand, who will run on an SDE list in the coming general election on 3 March next year.

Tarand pushed onto the stage, taking the microphone away from Martin Helme MP (EKRE). In the scuffle that ensued shortly after, Tarand was dragged to the ground and physically assaulted by the protesters, which in turn triggered a police investigation of the incident as well as some of the EKRE supporters present.

EKRE filed a complaint of their own, demanding that the police investigate Tarand for the unlawful disturbing and breaking-up of a lawfully organised public meeting. The police decided not to act, prompting EKRE to turn to the prosecutor's office.

Chairman of EKRE's parliamentary group, Martin Helme confirmed that EKRE will take the matter to the next-higher authority, daily Õhtuleht wrote on Monday.

"The Tarand matter absolutely was a provocation, the aim of which was to anger the protesters, let the organisers drag him off the stage and then afterwards play the victim in the media," Helme said, who on the day of the incident also insisted that Tarand was drunk long after the police had confirmed that this wasn't the case.

"There was no beating, there was a scuffle that was prompted by Tarand's unlawful actions," Helme added.

The police did not initiate an investigation, but said that Tarand's intention hadn't been to disturb EKRE's rally. "The aim of Indrek Tarand's activities wasn't to disperse the meeting, but with his taking the stage he rather joined the protesters," head of the police's Tallinn city centre division, Kaido Saarniit, told reporters.

"Hindering a public meeting and disturbing it isn't one and the same thing. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, everyone has the right to express their opinion. We can ask whether or not [Tarand's] behaviour was appropriate in this case, but there is no evidence of an offence in this case," Saarniit added.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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