Gallery: Sunday protest in defence of freedom attracts hundreds in Tallinn

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tallinn's Old Town on Sunday to protest against politicians that may form part of the new Estonian government whom they believe are a threat to their freedoms. Current talks including the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), organisers said, are undermining the rights of the people.

"According to the Constitution, no one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other views," the organisers of Sunday's protest said in a press release sent to the media. "We are concerned that a political party may potentially be included in the Government of the Republic of Estonia whose public statements work against our constitutional order.

"Current coalition talks between the Centre Party, Isamaa and EKRE are undermining the human rights of the people of Estonia," the organisers continued in its statement referring to the possible inclusion of EKRE in the Estonian government. "A party is participating in talks that has achieved its political success by diving society with disinformation. We are demonstrating that we will not accept this. We want politicians to respect the Constitution of Estonia, which defines the foundations of our state."

Parallel protests also took place in Tartu and London. The use of any party insignia was banned.

Against aggresion, division

Artjom, a self-described young activist, told ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera that he was disappointed in the Centre Party. "I don't like the government that may be formed," he said. I don't want EKRE to end up in power."

"[I am against] this aggression on the state level — against journalists, artists, and women — against its own people," said film director Rainer Sarnet. "This will not end well. That is why I am here."

Organisers confirmed that the protest was against divisive politics in Estonia, citing statements made my by EKRE politicians as an example.

"They have power, unfortunately," explained Gaspar Šabad, a member of the Reform Party and one of the organisers of the protest. "And when a party has 100,000 followers and 100,000 supporters, then they cannot simply spew things out as they please, but rather take some responsibility for what they say too. To some extent, this is putting the pressure on [Centre Party chairman] Jüri Ratas and [Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor] Seeder to reconsider as well."

One person who came to see protest was EKRE board member Jaak Madison, who said that everyone has the right to come out and speak their mind.

"I recommend people wait until the conclusion of talks," he said. "Wait until the opening sitting of the [new] Riigikogu, and wait until the end of next week, when the coalition agreement will be completed, and they can be satisfied that nothing bad will happen."

The Centre Party, EKRE and Isamaa, the first, second and third runners-up in the 2019 Riigikogu elections, earned 26, 19 and 12 mandates, respectively. This potential coalition would command a 57-seat majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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