As Estonian lawmakers were set to greenlight the UN accord on international cooperation on migration, the supporters of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) descended on parliament to rally against the move.
MPs from a rival Social Democratic Party (SDE) faced the protesters in attempt to dispel their concerns over the highly-debated document. However, several hundred-strong crowds were reluctant to hear from them. The demonstrators reportedly barred them from stage.
MEP Indrek Tarand, who is to stand for the SDE at the next year’s national elections, then stepped in and took to the stage as conservative MP Martin Helme was speaking. Tarand was attacked after attempting to take the microphone from Helme.
“If you don’t want hundreds of thousands of refugees to come here, then vote for the Social Democrats,” he said into the mic, as cited by local media.
Tarand was then pushed off the stage and immediately encircled by protesters. During the scuffle that ensued, he was knocked to the ground and reportedly kicked by protesters. A video from the scene shows a man seemingly preventing the MEP getting back on his feet, holding his hood and pulling him away from the platform.
Luckily, the politician was not injured during the incident and reported it to police.
“I was a victim of physical violence, and as a law-abiding citizen I filed a police report after what happened,” Tarand told ERR. “This kind of public attack seriously cannot be allowed.”
As the police launched an investigation, some EKRE representatives claimed that Tarand was drunk and accused him of “attacking the organizers” and “being destructive.”The police later refuted the claims.
On Monday evening, the Estonian parliament finally agreed a declaration to support the approach to migration following a heated debate. The Reform Party abstained from the vote calling it a “failure” of the government.
The draft of the non-binding Global Compact on Migration has been negotiated over two years and now the states are reviewing the document, which is to be adopted at a UN conference in December.
Apart from the US, which initially refused to negotiate the agreement, several other countries have already voiced their opposition to the pact and are set to pull out from it, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
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