Statue row escalates in Russia

Youths attack Estonian Embassy in Moscow after removal of memorial to Red Army.

    Estonia's removal of a statue commemorating the Soviet army caused widespread rioting [AFP] 

    In Brussels, the European Commission expressed concern over the protests at the embassy and said the EU would formally raise the matter with Russia.

    In Tallinn,the Estonian capital, the foreign ministry said it had evacuated the family of diplomats and protested strongly.


    'Physical attacks'

     

    Estonia responded to the attacks by telling Russia "to remain civilised".

     

    "Physical attacks on the Estonian Republic's diplomatic representatives are unprecedented and absolutely unjustifiable," a statement issued by the Estonian foreign ministry said

     

    "These attacks call for immediate actions from the international community."

    About 25 demonstrators shouting "shame on Estonia" and "fascism will not be allowed" burst into the press centre at a Russian newspaper in central Moscow minutes before the planned midday (0800 GMT) start of the news conference.

    The ambassador's bodyguards used crowd control gas to clear the hall. Estonia said its ambassador's car was also attacked and its flag torn off.


    Maxim Mishchenko, a leader from the Young Russia group, said: "We can't allow her [Estonia's ambassador] to be here until her government and her president, who has called our grandfathers gangsters, apologise."

     

    The demonstrators, organised by Russian youth groups, were teenagers or in their early twenties.


    "The attack was probably aimed at me, but as you see nobody came near enough, nobody touched me, everything is OK," said Kaljurand, the ambassador.


    Pro-Kremlin youth activists have staged protests outside the Estonian embassy since last week when Estonia's government removed the Red Army memorial from the centre of Tallinn, in an action that has angered many Russians.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.