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Estonian police empowered to cancel tourist visas

TALLINN, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - The Estonian government issued new visa registration regulations Thursday authorizing police to revoke foreign tourist visas.

Police will be given access to a national visa registry, acquiring a role in visa-granting and cancellation. Until now foreign visas could only be revoked by the Department of Citizenship and Migration.

In accordance with the country's obligations under the Schengen Agreement, which it signed on joining the European Union in 2004, Estonia must start using its visa registry from September 1. The new visa regulations will kick in on the same date.

In May and June Estonian authorities deported several Russian nationals, ostensibly on the grounds of visa regime violations, after they protested against the relocation of a Soviet-era WWII memorial from central Tallinn and the reburial of soldiers' remains.

The activists, mostly members of a pro-Kremlin youth movement, were in the country on tourist visas. Estonian authorities have banned them from entering the country or other EU states for 10 years.

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