Finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) has echoed comments made by his father, Mart Helme, interior minister and deputy prime minister, that a recent attack on a foreign national in Estonia was concerning, though added that of bigger concern was President Kersti Kaljulaid's incitement of hatred towards one particular political party.
Mart Helme, who is also leader of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), said that the attack, on Wednesday, where a Pakistan national was verbally attacked, was concerning, and that the security and safety of everyone in Estonia was paramount.
The victim of the attack filmed much of the incident on his phone and shared it on social media; the footage later appeared on online news portal Delfi.
"Go home, this is Estonia," the attacker screams in the video, taken in the Õismäe district of Tallinn, and also attempted to attack the victim, who appears to be getting into a car towards the end of the clip, physically. The victim stated on his video that the man was an EKRE supporter, which seemed to make the man more agitated.
The man was wearing a T-shirt bearing EKRE's logo, and appeared to make a nazi-style salute at the beginning of the footage. What, if anything, had transpired in the moments leading up to the footage has not been reported.
Martin Helme said he had spoken to his father about the incident, prior to Thursday's government sitting, and later also expressed concerns.
"We should have total zero tolerance [for xenophobia]; it should be absolutely unacceptable to insult someone on the street," he said, BNS reports.
"No matter whether it's a Pakistani, an Estonian, a Chinese or a German. It doesn't matter. There should be absolute zero tolerance," he continued, adding that the attacker was not and never has been a member of EKRE, something which the commercial register, which holds data on party membership, confirms, according to BNS.
Martin Helme also said that there was no more, or less, xenophobia in Estonia now, than had been the case earlier. He did however also excoriate the president, for inciting hatred and telling the foreign media that she "hates one Estonian governmental and parliamentary party," meaning EKRE, though he did not refer to the party by name.
"...I do have to admit that in recent months I've been sensing an awful lot of hatred toward our own people in Estonia," Martin Helme said. "The leader of this hate-mongering, this cheerleading here seems to be the president," Helme said, adding that this was a much bigger problem than "some totally random, babbling guy on the street."
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) are dealing with the case, Martin Helme said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte