More details have emerged concerning a brawl involving off-duty British soldiers and local residents in the Lääne-Viru County town of Tapa last Saturday evening. A video posted by regional daily Virumaa Teataja shows what appear to be British Royal Military Police (RMP) not only pinning a man to the ground, but also dragging a young woman along the ground, and appearing to raise a baton or similar to another young woman.
As reported by ERR News Tuesday, the brawl broke out at about 8 p.m. Saturday, in a cafe in the town center, which is home to the large NATO base and the British-led Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup.
The one-and-a-half-minute video, posted by Virumaa Teataja (link in Estonian, dialog on video in English) starts with four military personnel in DPM clothing and hi-vis vests appearing to detain a man, close to the roadside in Tapa town center. Two of the four are wearing scarlet berets – part of the RMP’s uniform – and at least one of them appears to be speaking with a British accent, telling individuals involved to “get back”, “stay calm” and “give us some space”, while car traffic on a nearby road comes to a standstill.
Military police had been summonsed to the scene shortly after the fight, which moved outside and towards a nearby supermarket, according to eye witnesses, and had the situation under control by the time local Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) personnel arrived, according to reports.
That bringing things under control involved detaining one man, reported to be a local Estonian and who is pinned to the ground with the use of handcuffs, while dragging a woman, who appears to be the detained man’s wife, along the ground and fending off one other woman who had run into the affray, with verbal rebuttals and a raised arm and what looks like a baton-type implement.
One of two young men who had also been ordered away from the scene attempts to approach a second time but is walked away by the other, who appears to be speaking in a Liverpool accent.
The (expletive-laden) Virumaa Teataja link and video is here.
The annual large-scale Estonian military Exercise Spring Storm started this week, and involves British personnel also.
The eFP is organizationally a part of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) 1st Infantry Brigade and has been British-led since its inception in early 2017, with British Army regiments, mostly heavy infantry, passing through on a rotational basis and forming the core of the battlegroup. 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment has been on its rotation since the end of March. Danish soldiers and, in the recent past, French and Belgian troops, make up the rest of the battlegroup, along with British Army personnel from other units.