Estonian fuel excise tax protests to continue: organisers

  • 2015-04-27
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

Around a thousand people gathered on Sunday in Tallinn to protest an increase in the fuel excise tax increase, and the organisers promise more actions against the government's plan, Public Broadcasting reports.

The protest meeting in front of the parliament building was registered by the NGO Blue Alarm, which is the youth organisation of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE).

Although the event organiser, Silver Jõgger from EKRE, hoped that the protest would gather three thousand people, Estonian Public Broadcasting's correspondent estimated that the actual number of participants was between 1,000 and 1,500.

The protesters claim that if the excise tax increases go through, by the year 2020 it will be cheaper to fill up a car in Finland, where the average salary is several times higher than in Estonia.

While the protest was described as being motivated by opposition to the fuel excise tax increase, Delfi reported that much of it turned into a criticism of Taavi Rõivas's government in general by representatives of the controversial EKRE party, which is characterised by some observers as far-right.

After the Sunday protest action, the next major action is planned for Friday, May 1, in Tartu. The protest is aimed to show the government that raising  excise taxes has caused serious resentment among the people. In Tartu, the Town Hall Square has been booked from 2 p.m. on Friday. Blue Alarm has said  that this will not be the last demonstration in May.

According to the government's plan, fuel excise tax will increase by 20 cents over the four years - five cents each year. Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has said that the impact of the rise is quite small and the drama is seriously exaggerated.