UN migration pact sparks violence in Estonia

A political fight over the UN migration pact culminated in heated altercations on the streets of Tallinn.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
UN migration pact sparks violence in Estonia - NewsMavens
Fight on street, Youtube

Why this story matters:

The United Nations agreement on migration has caused a stir in many countries. In Estonia, it broke the government and escalated into violence.

Estonia's government was unable to reach a consensus on whether to join the UN migration pact or not, so the decision was handed to the Parliament. Without a majority vote,  the parliament nevertheless decided to sign the pact and the Prime Minister Jüri Ratas declared that the government will follow the parliament's vote.

On that day, last Monday, the members of EKRE, Estonia's most extreme right-wing party, gathered in front of the parliament to protest the pact.

Indrek Tarand, a member of the European parliament, suddenly grabbed the microphone from the protesters to show support for the pact, but he was aggressively taken down and thrown on the ground (see the video). Some kicks were registered.

This shocked the Estonian public to the core as incidents like these are extremely rare. It is difficult to get Estonians to protest on a cold winter day, but for the gathering to become violent, this is an absolutely new and unknown territory for everyone.

Whatever will happen next it is now clear that Estonia and its politics have entered a new era.

Details from the story:

  • Indrek Tarand, an Estonian MEP, has a long list of provocations to show. He has grabbed microphones from other politicians before. But never has it received such an aggressive response.
  • Tarand became an MEP in 2009.
  • Despite being active in politics, Tarand has never belonged to a political party. Next year, during the parliamentary elections, he will run as an independent candidate in the list of the Social Democratic Party.
  • The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is Estonia's most extreme right-wing party. Its rhetoric is becoming increasingly fear and anger based. Their members are verbally insulting and shaming people online whose views they don't share or understand. 
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