Activists opposing the inclusion of the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) in the currently-ongoing coalition talks in Estonia are organising a demonstration titled “Yes to freedom, no to lies”.
The demonstration is due to take place on Sunday, 31 March at 12:00PM. The organisers “call upon all concerned Estonians to take a stand against politicians who are threatening our basic freedoms as stated in the constitution of Estonia”.
“The ongoing coalition talks between the Estonian Centre Party, Pro Patria and the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia has the potential to put the fundamental rights of Estonian people at risk,” the organisers said in a statement. “The talks include a party that has achieved its political success by creating divisions in the society with false information. We aim to show that it is not acceptable in the Estonia we want.”
“Our wish is that politicians would respect the Estonian constitution, which defines the foundations of our state. According to the constitution, no one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other views. We are concerned that the government currently in the making would include a political party that is regularly making public statements, which are in conflict with the aforementioned fundamental and constitutional freedoms.”
Organised by the local civic community
The main demonstration, held in Tallinn, will start in front of the Viru Gate, moving through the Town Hall Square to the Freedom Square. “The demonstration is peaceful. It is organised by the local civic community, consisting of concerned citizens and is not affiliated to any political party. Using symbols of political parties during the demonstration is not permitted,” the organisers added.
Simultaneously, they’re planning to hold other demonstrations. “In Tartu, a demonstration will be held at the Town Hall Square. Currently, there are also registered demonstrations in front of the Estonian embassies in London and Berlin, with more foreign cities under negotiation.”
The organisers would strongly encourage all Estonian expats to join, they said in the statement.
The prime minister of the outgoing government, Jüri Ratas, is currently involved in coalition talks with EKRE, widely regarded as far-right, and the moderate conservative party in Estonia, Isamaa (Fatherland, Pro Patria). EKRE won 19 seats in the 3 March election, making it the third-largest parliamentary party after the centre-right, liberal Reform Party, and the Ratas-led Centre Party.
EKRE wants to get rid of the Co-Habitation Act that allows same sex couples to register their relationship, and many of its leading members have expressed racist, homophobic and xenophobic views.
Cover: Estonian youths in the Netherlands protested against coalition talks with EKRE on 17 March (Mattias Malk).