The Helsinki Police Department has opened an investigation into an incident in which a roughly 20-year-old asylum seeker was sprayed in the face with pepper spray at Helsinki Railway Square on Sunday.
“Police have obtained video footage of the incident,” Petri Juvonen, a detective inspector at the Helsinki Police Department, says in a press release. “It appears, at least based on the video footage, that the incident was preceded by a prolonged verbal altercation and pushing and shoving at the Railway Square.”
Juvonen and his colleagues are continuing their efforts to determine the sequence of events and the roles of the individuals shown in the footage.
The information and witness accounts obtained by the investigators indicate that situation escalated as the victim and his friends attempted to use a public toilet in the corner of the Railway Square. “Native-born Finns prevented them from doing so. Police have also been informed that the victim was sprayed in the face with some kind of pepper spray,” tells Juvonen.
The victim then entered a nearby restaurant to rinse his face, but the suspected offenders followed him and his friend into the restaurant while continuing to make threats, according to the press release.
The native-born men then left the scene of the incident and have yet been reached by the investigators. The man who deployed the pepper spray is tentatively suspected of assault.
Helsinki Railway Square has been the site of a protest by unsuccessful asylum seekers and a counter-protest staged by an anti-immigration group called Suomi Ensin (Eng. Finland first) since mid-February.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva