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Terrorists on the terrace?

Outdoor diners ruffle embassy feathers

The embassies of Poland, Italy and Austria have filed complaints to the Estonian Foreign Ministry about outdoor dining areas nearby their buildings. Diplomats claim the terrace diners disturb the daily functioning of the embassies and pose a security risk.

Large crowds near an embassy, they claim, could also violate the Vienna Convention, which requires the peace and dignity of a mission to be protected. The Baltic Times reports that complaints could affect an application by a new restaurant, Clazz, which is seeking to open a terrace outside the Polish embassy. Last year the French embassy complained about a terrace at the Cathedral Restaurant on Toompea, asking for its closure because of its proximity to the French ambassador’s residence. The restaurant terrace remained open, the city not considering it to be a source of danger.

This reporter once lived in the Old Town, and he has had his peace and dignity violated on multiple occasions: A flutist who knew only three songs serenaded tourists for hours on end below his window. Taxi drivers delivered beaten Finnish tourists to Finland’s consulate at early hours of the morning. Legions of drunken boys urinated in the street. But this reporter didn’t have the Vienna Convention to fall back on, and he moved out. The Old Town is a great place to dine, but it isn’t the best for working or living.

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