Demonstration in support of the Provincial Assembly in Tartu

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21. November 1917

The abolishment of the Provincial Assembly created protests all over Estonia, in local assemblies, town councils and in different associations.

On November 18 (December 1), Jaan Tõnisson published a proclamation in his newspaper "Postimees", inviting all citizens of Tartu to meet and protest in defense of the Provincial Assembly. Local Bolsheviks tried to stop this, arresting Tõnisson for a short period of time.

On the night of November 20 (December 4), martial law was announced in the town, and all kinds of public meetings were prohibited.

Despite this, the lieutenants of Estonian reserve regiment, some other soldiers and members of some nationalist assemblies, gathered to the Town Hall Square (see image). National tricolor was hoisted to the tower of the Town Hall, and the crowd was asked to proclaim the Provincial Assembly as the highest authority in Estonia. Even though the Bolsheviks sent their troops to the Square, the demonstration ended peacefully.

On the night of November 22 (December 5), Jaan Tõnisson and about ten Estonian lieutenants were arrested and taken to Tallinn to be interrogated. Kingissep released Tõnisson and advised him to go to exile, which he eventually did, as a diplomat of the Estonian Provincial Assembly. In November, revolt against the Soviets rule happened in Haapsalu.
By November 19 (December 2), 1917, all power had officially gone to the Executive Committee of Estonia. The previous government was able to remove most of the administrative documents and empty out the financial department.

Sources: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Õie Elango, Ants Ruusmann ja Karl Siilivask. Eesti maast ja rahvast: Maailmasõjast maailmasõjani. Tallinn: Olion, 1998
Eesti ajalugu: kronoloogia. Tallinn: Olion, 2007
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.

Image source: http://f.postimees.ee/f/2009/05/29/185839t40h0947.jpg


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