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Internal Security Day

1 December is Internal Security Day in Estonia.

On that day, we honour police officers, rescue personnel, servicemen and servicewomen together with all others who have dedicated themselves to protecting the people of Estonia and their security. The day serves as a reminder that independence is not to be taken for granted and that thousands of people are working every day in the name of independence.

Internal Security Day is celebrated on 1 December because on that day in 1924 Estonia quelled an attempted coup, which aimed to overthrow the Government of the Republic of Estonia and establish a Communist regime in Estonia, using weapons and funds provided by the Soviet Union. The rebellion resulted in the deaths of 21 members of government forces and civilians.

Tondi Boys statue in front of Tondi barracks.


Traditional events to mark Internal Security Day in Estonia

  • Early on 1 December, the Estonian National Defence College holds a gathering at the Memorial to the Tondi Boys in front of Tondi Military School to commemorate the cadets who were killed suppressing the coup of 1924.
  • Members of the Police and Border Guard Board light candles at Rahumäe cemetery in Tallinn and lay a wreath in memory of those who died in the attempted coup and the police officers who lost their lives in Tallinn and Harju County.

About the history of 1 December

  • On 1 December 1924, Estonia suffered an attempted Communist coup aimed at overthrowing the incumbent government and establishing a Communist regime in Estonia.
  • The attempted coup was orchestrated from the Soviet Union, which organised the infiltration of dozens of specially trained gunmen and Communist Party activists into Estonia. Jaan Anvelt, an Estonian Communist leader was also among the Communist activists.
  • The rebels were initially successful: they occupied the State Elder’s residence, Tallinn’s railway stations, the Central Post Office and some military units.
  • The government responded by declaring a state of war, appointing Lieutenant General Johan Laidoner as Commander in Chief and expanding the jurisdiction of division officers. The plans to take over Tondi Military School, the Ministry of War and other buildings failed, and the revolt was quelled on the very same day.
  • A revolt had also been planned in Pärnu, but it never materialised.
  • On 1 December 1924, Estonia lost 21 members of its government forces and civilians, and 25 military personnel and 16 civilians were wounded. Of government members, the Minister of Roads Karl Kark was killed in the attempted coup.
  • In the aftermath of the failed coup, the deactivated Defence League was reinstated and secret police forces were reorganised.


Last updated: 23 August 2016