The unknown set on fire the Asylum Center in Vao village in north-central Estonia at dawn today, on September 3, the Police Department of Estonia told an EADaily correspondent.
The alarm was received at 4:31am. By the time rescuers reached the spot, the refugees had been evacuated already. The fire was localized and liquidated.
By preliminary data it was arson. Indrek Link, the chief of the local police, says it was a very serious incident. "There were more than 50 people, including 13 children inside the building when the blaze broke out. This may have had very grave consequences," he says. Senior prosecutor Sirje Merilo, leading the investigation, said a criminal case was opened.
In early July, the Vao residents and a group of non-resident bikers held a large-scale action of protest against the inflow of migrants. A number of politicians of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia, including ex-European parliamentarian Kristiina Ojuland, joined the protests and launched a signature campaign against giving asylum to refugees in Estonia – they have collected more than 20,000 signatures.
Meantime, Estonia pledged to give shelter to 150 immigrants from Africa and Middle East. The local population fears it is only beginning of a refugee crisis.