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Estonian police remove artist's replica of Bronze Soldier statue

TALLINN, May 9 (RIA Novosti) - Estonian police on Saturday removed a replica of the Bronze Soldier monument to Soviet World War II dead from the central Tallinn square where the original stood until two years ago.

The police press service said the two-meter-high statue, made of light metal, was taken to a police station and the artist who installed it on Tonismagi square had been detained. It had not been decided if the woman would be charged.

Tallinn was hit by mass protests in late April 2007 after the Estonian authorities ordered the removal of the Bronze Soldier monument from the city center. In the ensuing riots, over 1,000 people were arrested, dozens injured and a Russian national died.

Estonia's removal of the monument aggravated relations with Russia, which has long criticized Tallinn for discriminatory policies toward Russian speakers and leniency toward Estonian Waffen-SS veterans.

The Estonian government considers the Soviet era a period of illegal occupation.

The remains of the 11 Red Army soldiers buried under the Bronze Soldier were reburied at their home towns at the requests of their relatives.

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