Tiff Over Public Spaces Brings Out Skaterboys

laine uudised-laine
1. May 2011

A dispute between the Tallinn City Government and the Tallinn youth, over the proper use of the city's trademark Vabaduse Plats (Freedom Square) has escalated into a national news item, with both sides working towards an uneasy truce.

The problem started when the Estonian Street Sports Union received word that the Tallinn municipal police was planning to ban skaters, rollerbladers and other active youth from Vabaduse Plats, the city's main ceremonial square, which holds the Freedom Cross as well as a large open public space that has been well received by both locals and tourists alike.

The Street Sports Union planned a demonstration protesting against the plan for April 28th, last Friday, stating that the city lacks adequate spaces for practicing street sports and that nothing important has been broken on the square.

The event was widely covered by the media, and the municipal government assured that no plans for a full ban on street sports were in development.

"Certainly young people can continue sporting here," said Monika Lestberg, public relations officer for the Tallinn municipal police to ERR evening news. "We have never discussed keeping anyone out of Vabaduse Plats, we simply need to discuss the ways in which young people themselves can help maintain order and cleanliness in the area."

The Street Sports Union noted that most of the 12 skate parks in Tallinn are in terrible shape and that the municipal government should also look into fixing them.

The Union will meet with the municipal police and representatives of the city government on May 18th.