Hirve Park demonstration calls for Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' resignation

The Hirve Park demonstration takes place on Saturday, 1 p.m.-2.30 p.m. local time.
The Hirve Park demonstration takes place on Saturday, 1 p.m.-2.30 p.m. local time. Source: Helen Wright/ERR

A demonstration takes place in Tallinn on Saturday, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and his government.

The rally, organized by "Jah vabadusele, ei valedele" ("Yes to freedom, no to lies"), convenes at Hirve Park, in the shadows of Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu, at 1 p.m. local time. "Jah vabadusele, ei valedele" also runs the hashtag #astutagasi ("step down") and has held regular protests outside the Stenbock House, seat of the government, on Thursdays, when the cabinet meets and holds its regular press conference, for several months.

Hirve Park is significant as it was the venue for a rally on Aug. 23 1987 which is often taken as the morning star of Estonia's drive for independence, which became reality four years later. The 1987 rally was attended by several thousand people, focussed on protesting the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the demonstration fell on the 48th anniversary of the pact's signing) which placed Estonia in the Soviet Union's sphere of influence for the first time. The demonstration was one of the first open and public demonstrations against the Estonian Communist Party and Soviet rule as a whole.

Saturday's demonstration is scheduled to last until 2.30 p.m., and faces changeable weather with some rain showers likely.

"Jah vabadusele, ei valedele" says on its social media page that: "The Republic of Estonia is founded on liberty, justice and the rule of law. The current government has abandoned these values. Estonia does not belong to far-right populists. Estonia does not belong to Jüri Ratas. The government of Jüri Ratas should resign."

"Estonia is a European country. Our country. These are our values. We shall protect them. Join us at the demonstration for free and democratic Estonia on 14th September at 13:00 in Hirvepark, Tallinn," the post continues.

Grounds for calling for Ratas' and his cabinet's resignation principally revolve around the inclusion of the right-wing Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in the current coalition, which came into being at the end of April.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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