A group of three expat engineers were harassed by a Finnish man identifying himself as a member of the self proclaimed vigilante group, Soldiers of Odin near Helsinki last weekend. The immigrants, who do not want their names to be published in fear of reprisal, explain their ordeal:
“Saturday (16th January 2016), me and two of my friends went to Sello shopping centre in Espoo for shopping. After a while my friends wanted to smoke, so we went outside (The door next to LIDL). As my friends were smoking, a tall chubby guy wearing black clothes came outside from Sello. He was obviously drunk and came out for a smoke. His hands were all bruised, indicating he had been in numerous fights. Upon seeing us, he told us that he is from Street Patrol and asked us what our religion was, we tried to ignore him but he kept on asking. We didn't say anything and after a while he assumed we were Muslims and started abusing Muslims and their religion. He then asked us why the F**K are we here in Finland and asked us to leave Finland. We told him that we are not refugees but engineers and working in Finnish companies. He was getting furious and wanted to incite violence but we wanted to avoid and get rid of him. We eventually had to show him our identities (as per his orders). And then had to leave to avoid any unwanted trouble.”
-“I have been living in Finland for the past 2.5 years. I have never come across any such incident before. This incident left several questions in my mind.”
-“Are these guys here to protect the common citizen or get rid of all skilled / semi skilled immigrants paying taxes in Finland and contributing to the Finnish economy?”
-“Soldiers of Odin claim that they will protect the common citizen by intervening where necessary in threatening situations. Was this a threatening situation? How can a drunk guy protect other people?”
‘Soldiers of Odin’, a group of volunteers, started patrolling the streets in different cities in Finland after the news of apparently organized new year harassment of women in Köln, Germany and to a lesser extent in Helsinki, Finland. Young asylum seekers were main suspects of the harassments.
Some members of the Soldiers of Odin group have been suspected of links to Neo-Nazi groups and some of them have criminal records.
Update (22 Jan, 14:30)
Helsinki Times contacted Espoo police department regarding possible presence of street patrols in Espoo area. Espoo police department stated that according to their knowledge the group Soldiers of Odin is not active and present in this area. The notion in this article of the assailant being a member of this group is based on the discussions of the expats with the harasser and his claim.
Picture credits: handout / Lehtikuva