Demonstration in support of the Kopli fire depot
On Thursday 12 October, starting at 10:30, a community demonstration in support of the Kopli Rescue Command will take place in front of the Riigikogu. The demonstration is prompted by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Estonia to shut down the Kopli fire depot as a result of the austerity plan.
The consequences of the government’s cutback decision to close the Kopli fire depot are long-lasting, far-reaching, and as yet unknown to politicians. This significantly reduces the level of real security, and when we add the broader national defence and security situation to the equation, the closure of the fire depot is completely inappropriate,” said Hannes Nagel, head of the Crisis Research Centre, one of the initiators of the demonstration. “It is worth recalling that emergency response is part of the civil defence – its provision is an outstanding state responsibility, inter alia under NATO Article 3.”
The Kopli fire depot is important, both in terms of its area of responsibility and its capabilities. “The Northern Tallinn distirct is an industrial area with a heightened risk of accidents with serious consequences. In addition, the peninsula is logistically difficult to access, and a local fire depot is needed,” said Kalle Koop, Chief Trustee of the Estonian Rescue Workers Union (EPTAÜ). In addition, the countries only naval port is also located in Northern Tallinn, being in active use by Estonian Navy and NATO member states.
Northern Tallinn covers more than 40 percent of the city’s maritime border being a peninsula where help arrives with a delay. The austerity saving the state would receive from the closure of the fire depot, given the enourmours state budget deficit, is pennies – 727 000 euros. “The budget cut cannot be based simply on the number of deployments, but also on the specific characteristics of the region ought to be taken into account. The inhabitants of Northern Tallinn, as well as entrepreneurs, have an equal right to a vital service and a sense of security. It is unacceptable that a district of the size of the third largest city in Estonia is deprived of rapid assistance and that security is exchanged for pennies in the state budget,” said Manuela Pihlap, Mayor of Northern Tallinn.
Next week’s demonstration on Thursday October, 12 from 10:30-12:00 is a follow up to the petition in support of the Kopli fire depot, which has received nearly 3,500 signatures. Anyone who cares about safety and wants to show their support for the rescuers are welcome to attend, as well to sign the petition. The Facebook event of the demonstration can be found here.
Photo: demonstration in Tallinnas (EPTAÜ, 2023).