One killed in clashes over World War monument in Estonia

Friday, April 27, 2007

Protests on 26 April
Photo from the protest last night.
Image: Leena Hietanen.
File:Tõnismäe monument 1999.jpg
The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn.

One man was killed and 44 hurt in clashes between demonstrators and police in Tallinn, Estonia last night after authorities removed a controversial Soviet monument.

The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn is seen as a reminder of Soviet occupation by Estonian nationalists, while veterans and Russian-speaking Estonians view the monument as a symbol of the liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism. Police special units were used to force away the pro-monument protesters, screaming "Disgrace to Estonia!".

Police clashed with protesters during the night riots, some cars were burnt, and store front windows in the center of Tallinn were broken by the demonstrators.

Russian authorities, who often supported the monument as a symbol of victory over fascism, denounced Estonian police actions and the monument removal. Sergey Mironov, Russia's parliament speaker, threatened to break the diplomatic relations with Estonia.

According to Russian radio station Echo of Moscow the number of casualties has increased to three.