Four people were brought into custody for brandishing flags with swastikas during a national-socialist protest called Kohti vapautta (Eng. Towards Freedom) organised in Helsinki on Independence Day, 6 December, by the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM).
The three flags were confiscated and their bearers brought into custody in order to safeguard public order and security, commented Seppo Kujala, a superintendent at the Helsinki Police Department.
The Nordic Resistance Movement has been ordered to dissolve by both the District Court of Pirkanmaa and the Turku Court of Appeal. The ban cannot yet be enforced as the national-socialist movement filed a leave to appeal against the order with the Supreme Court of Finland in November, according to MTV.
The incident prompted a flood of comments from researchers and policy makers in Finland.
“Swastikas in Helsinki on Independence Day – absolutely abhorrent. The ‘nationalists’ are demonstrating that they are indeed Nazis,” exclaimed Li Andersson, the chairperson of the Left Alliance.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) declared emphatically that such symbols have no place in Finland. “Nazi flags do not belong in Finland, or anywhere else. They definitely do not reflect the values of the Finnish society,” he stated on Twitter.
Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, viewed that police made the right decision to confiscate the flags.
“Our veterans did not fight to allow Nazi flags to fly [in Finland]. They fought for independence so that Finns could live in peace and security in a country where human dignity is indivisible. Nazism represents none of these ideas,” he stated.
Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), meanwhile, expressed his detestation of marches organised by both far-right and far-left movements. “Having Nazis march on the city’s streets is disgusting! All marches by extremist movements are disgusting, be they by far-right or far-left movements,” he tweeted.
Minja Koskela, a researcher at University of the Arts Helsinki, described the incident as a miserable display of the current state of a civilised democratic country.
“According to studies, Finland is the most racist country in Europe and this Independence Day is a miserable display of the current state of a civilised democratic country. Brandishing the swastika flag is not a demonstration of freedom of speech but an attempt to limit freedom of speech,” she analysed.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi