Estonia celebrates 100 years of independence declaration

February 24, 2018 GMT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Estonia is celebrating the centenary of its independence declaration with festivities and a military parade.

The celebrations on Saturday started with Estonia’s blue, black, and white flag being hoisted atop the same downtown Tallinn tower it was flown from in 1918.

Like its Baltic neighbors, Estonia was part of the Russian Empire and briefly Soviet Russia before it declared independence 100 years ago. The small country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 and by Germany for three years during World War II.

It regained independence in 1991 and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

During Saturday’s parade, President Kersti Kaljulaid reviewed troops that included a multi-national NATO unit stationed in Estonia.

Prime Minister Juri Ratas urged citizens never to forget the predecessors who established the republic.