More than 300 people held in Estonia riots

More than 300 people were detained in police custody and around ten people were injured as riots gripped Estonia's capital for a second night.

The riots, in which police were reported to shoot rubber bullets and a water canon in an attempt to disperse the crowds, were sparked by the government's decision to remove a Soviet war memorial from Tallinn.

Ethnic Russians, who make up around a third of Estonia's population, see the monument as a memorial to the Soviets who fought against the Nazis during the occupation of the country from 1941 to 1944.

However supporters of the statue's removal, currently held in an unknown location, see the monument as a reminder of the years when Estonia was ruled by the Soviet Union.

Rioting in the city last night led to a number of cars smashed, billboards set alight, and reports of looting by gangs in the capital.

By Saturday morning reporters in the region said calm had returned to Tallinn but it is not clear if the statue's removal, which has placed strain on Estonia's relationship with Russia, will lead to a third night of clashes. One person died in Thursday's riots.

The Kremlin has responded resentfully to Estonia's decision, threatening to stop diplomatic relations with the former state of the Soviet Union.

"The Estonian government has spat on values," AP news agency say Russian news agencies quoted foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as saying.

"I cannot understand it when people try to lay blame for historical events on somebody, or try to compare communism with Nazism," Mr Lavrov added.

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