Swede stages Tallinn protest in response to minister's remarks on gays

2:42 min

A Swedish Moderate Party member in Tallinn staged a protest this week against Estonia's interior minister Mart Helme who, in an interview with Deutsche Welle's Russian service, said he is "not friendly" to gay people and suggested that homosexuals should go to Sweden because they would be more welcome there.

In response, Anders Hedman, chairman of the Estonian section of Swedish Moderates Abroad, decided to hand out leaflets outside the parliament in Tallinn, with a tongue-in-cheek counter message suggesting that Sweden would take in "gay refugees" from Estonia if Helme in turn invites "homophobes from Sweden".

Hedman told Radio Sweden that, in his opinion, Helme's views on gay rights are not in line with the conservative political tradition.

Helme's comments to Deutsche Welle prompted condemnation from Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, and leaders of the opposition parties are demanding his resignation.

However, Mart Helme's son, finance minister and EKRE party chairman Martin Helme, has insisted that his father's interview was mistranslated, and Mart Helme himself has denied that he is homophobic.

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