16 Aug 2022 15:09

Estonia warns foreigners they may lose residence permits if oppose deconstruction of Soviet monuments

TALLINN. Aug 16 (Interfax/BNS) - Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu confirmed on Tuesday that foreigners protesting against the deconstruction of Soviet-era monuments in Estonia might lose their residence permits.

The law on foreigners allows Estonia to revoke residence permits of individuals who constitute a threat to the security and public peace in Estonia, Reinsalu said.

"Police have annulled residence permits before," the BNS news agency quoted him as saying.

Foreign citizens, who systematically breach the public peace, should keep this theoretical possibility in mind, Reinsalu said.

The deconstruction of seven Soviet-era monuments, including a tank monument in Narva, began in Narva and its suburbs on Tuesday morning consistent with the Estonian government's decision.

The Defense Forces are helping the relocation of Soviet-era monuments in the Narva region, Police and Border Guard Board Director General Elmar Vaher said.

The government ordered the police on Monday evening to ensure the relocation of the monuments, and seven sites, including the Narva tank and two monuments on Peter Square in Narva, were placed under surveillance, Vaher said.

The provision of public peace and the calm relocation of the monuments by the designated parties, including the Defense Forces, are the primary objective, Vaher said. "This is why we are imposing restrictions on transport and traffic. We are doing this to the minimal extent and for a brief period," BNS quoted him as saying.

Vaher asked everyone to obey the police and abstain from provocations or attacks. "We have brought reinforcements to Narva and the Narva region, and all prefectures are involved," he said.

All is quiet now, and the traffic restrictions are being complied with, Vaher said. "There have been no incidents. People protecting the tank understood the situation and left. We did not have to use force," he said.