Four people were taken into custody yesterday as police officers dispersed a crowd of anti-immigration protesters associated with Suomi Ensin, the organiser of the long-running protest that was shut down a day earlier, at Helsinki Railway Square, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
They were taken into custody, some by force, for failing to comply with police orders to vacate the site at approximately 5pm on Tuesday.
The protesters are believed to have begun gathering at the square only a couple of hours after law enforcement authorities shut down the protest camp of the anti-immigration group on Monday. The decision to shut down the camp was made due to the organiser's apparent reluctance to step up its efforts to uphold security at and around the protest camp.
Jari Taponen, a detective inspector at the Helsinki Police Department, told YLE on Tuesday that the protesters are suspected of involvement in “at least 20 assaults” that have taken place during the course of the spring.
Helsingin Sanomat also reported that police officers have been assigned to monitor activity at the square around the clock. Taponen stated to the newspaper that the police will not allow another similar demonstration to take place at Helsinki Railway Square.
“This kind of activity won't be allowed to go on. If that group organised a protest in Helsinki, it’d pose a threat to the surroundings,” he explained.
Each protest will nevertheless be examined on a case-by-case basis, in compliance with the provisions of the assembly act, he assured.
Suomi Ensin on Monday accused law enforcement authorities of being biased by ordering its protesters to disperse while allowing the other group of demonstrators to remain at Helsinki Railway Square. Taponen assured that both of the groups were treated equally throughout the decision-making process.
“Both had the same rules, but one failed to obey the rules,” he said to Helsingin Sanomat.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva