Saturday night passes calmly in Tallinn

  • 2007-04-29
  • Staff and wire reports
The streets of Tallinn were quiet Saturday night with no repeat of the rioting and looting that took place Thursday and Friday.

Police were out in numbers in an effort to stave off further gatherings by youth. Throughout the evening in groups of about five to 12 police officers could be seen patrolling Old Town and central areas of the capital.

BNS reported that police earlier in the evening conducted searches of individuals who were roaming the streets, confiscating six knives and a number of iron bars.

Low temperatures, which had dipped below 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), may have played a role in keeping people off the streets.

It's also likely that the unrest had simply lost momentum.

Meanwhile the chiefs of Estonian police prefectures announced on Saturday a nation-wide ban on alcohol sales from 6 p.m. that day until 8 a.m. on May 3. Many of the rioters taking part in Thursday and Friday night's disturbances were under the influence of alcohol. The night of April 30, so-called "Witches night" is traditionally one where young people cause mischief.

The ban affects alcohol sold in shops. Bars and restaurants continued to operate as normal on Saturday night, but many closed early. Business was slow as many locals avoided the usually busy Old Town.

Police in Narva, a mainly ethnic-Russian city in northeast Estonia, detained 50 people, mainly minors, who had gathered near an Estonian high school and were acting "aggressively."

In Kohtla-Jarve, another northeast town with a mostly Russian-speaking population, police detained a man at 9:40 p.m. for carrying a grenade in his pocket. He has been handed over to the national security police.

In Johvi, where the night before about 200 participated in a short-lived riot, a crowd of about 100 was reported to have gathered at about 11 p.m. By 11:30, no serious incidents had been reported.