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10 Dec, 2008 06:45

Tallinn’s alleged riot ringleaders in court

Activists who opposed the demolition of a Soviet war memorial in Tallinn appear in court in the Estonian capital on Wednesday. The four men are charged with staging mass riots in April 2007 after a decision by Estonian authorities to remove the monument.

The defendants first appearance in court was in January at the start of the trial. The men could face up to five years in jail if found guilty.

Public disorder and rioting broke out among some of Estonia’s Russian speakers in April 2007. It followed a decision by the Estonian government to remove a bronze memorial to Soviet soldiers from the centre of Tallinn and to rebury the remains of those interred beneath to a nearby cemetery.
Many ethnic Russians took the decision as a mark of disrespect to the dead.  

Twelve hundred people were detained during disturbances, with more than 200 arrested. One Russian citizen was killed and about 50 people were hurt in clashes with Estonian riot police.

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