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Fresh violence erupts in Estonia

Hooded men loot a liquor store in Tallinn, Estonia yesterday.

Hooded men loot a liquor store in Tallinn, Estonia yesterday.

Police arrested 600 people and 96 were injured in a second night of clashes in Estonia's capital over the removal of a disputed World War II Red Army monument, the police said yesterday.
Russia has reacted furiously to the moving of the monument. Yesterday, it said police used excessive force to crack down on protesters and demanded Estonia investigate the death of a Russian citizen in the riots.
Estonia has said the monument had become a public order menace as a focus for Estonian and Russian nationalists, and protests have mainly been by young Russian-speakers.
Police charged protesters, fired tear gas and rubber bullets and used water cannon on Friday night to break up gangs of youths, many in their early teens, marauding through the city.
"The situation calmed down at 2 a.m. (local time) on Saturday (yesterday) after police dispersed the crowds, and has been peaceful from that time," said police spokesman Taavi Kullerkupp.
Some 50 premises, mostly shops, were vandalized, compared with about 100 the day before.
Baltic news agency BNS said some disturbances involving youths had broken out on Friday in the town of Johvi, in the northeast, where many Russian-speakers live.
The removal of the 2-meter high bronze statue of a World War II Red Army soldier angered some Russian-speakers, who number about 300,000 in a country of 1.3 million.
It was taken away at dawn on Friday after riots on Thursday led to the death of one man who was stabbed by another demonstrator
Yesterday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement the victim was a Russian citizen living in Estonia, adding it had still received no information about his name or the circumstances of his death.
"We demand the Estonian authorities make available to us all information about the incident, investigate it promptly and bring to justice those responsible for this crime.
"As a result of the excessive use of force by the Estonian authorities against the demonstrators ... tens of civilians suffered."
The statement said Russia hoped for an appropriate international response to Estonia's actions.
Estonians tend to view the monument as a reminder of 50 years of Soviet occupation. The government also says it shows greater respect to the soldiers buried in the city center spot to move them to a military cemetery.
Estonia said official Web sites had come under cyber attack and restricted access to them from outside the country.
Estonian radio said hackers had attacked the Web site of the governing Reform Party, putting out a bogus apology from Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.
Russia, which has had troubled ties with Estonia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, had said moving the monument was an insult to those who fought against fascism.


Updated : 2021-10-22 21:22 GMT+08:00