People took part in an anti-immigrant protest in Helsinki on 30 January, 2016. Both the tolerant and the intolerant have faced severe, to some extent needless, criticism in Finland, suggests President Sauli Niinistö.President Sauli Niinistö did not mince his words in criticising the debate culture in Finland at the opening ceremony of the new parliamentary session on Wednesday.

“We have also become too accustomed to raising our voices at one another. Men, women, the tolerant, the intolerant and many others – including the police – have been criticised. We have indeed verbally abused each other in the most thoroughgoing manner,” he stated.

He admitted that some of the unprecedented debate has been warranted but warned that Finns would be making a terrible mistake if they presume that they can solve the problem of uncontrolled migration by scrutinising the deeds and words of others.

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Niinistö also echoed the assessment of Antti Pentikäinen, a special adviser to the Government of Juha Sipilä (Centre) on the migrant crisis. “There is also a risk that refugees will be used as pawns of cynical power politics,” said Niinistö.

Pentikäinen estimated in an interview with Uusi Suomi in January that people in distress are “used cynically as weapons against Europe”.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi