People celebrating Independence Day at Töölö Market Square in Helsinki on Sunday, 6 December 2020. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)


FOUR PEOPLE were brought into custody for posting stickers defaming sexual minorities on street posts and walls surrounding Töölö Market Square in Helsinki on Sunday, the independence day of Finland.

“Reports of offences have been filed about the four people with the designation of ethnic agitation,” Patrik Karlsson, a chief inspector at Helsinki Police Department, commented to YLE.

Karlsson on Sunday said he is unable to comment on whether the suspects are affiliated with any organisations, adding that the police will continue to interrogate the suspects and investigate the sequence of events.

“One of the suspects was under 15 years old, so child welfare services will look into the case as far as they are concerned. The three others are suspected of ethnic agitation. The stickers have been confiscated. The suspects will be released after interrogations,” Kalle da Silva, the officer in charge of the pre-trial investigation, said in a press release from Helsinki Police Department.

YLE also reported that police had to issue fines to four people for operating an unmanned aerial vehicle over an area that was subject to a flight ban until midnight. A couple of nationalist and one anti-fascist gatherings were also dispersed for violating the orders of the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Southern Finland.

AVI for Southern Finland has prohibited all public gatherings of over 10 people to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

“The participants in the two marches were ruled to be part of the same group, which is why police stopped the other march. The group dispersed after the police order,” commented Karlsson. “The counter-protest momentarily had more than the allowed number of participants, but the group dispersed quickly.”

Independence Day was overall unusually uneventful in Finland, according to YLE. Police in Oulu reported that two small groups of people were marching toward a cemetery while largely complying with the health safety-related instructions in effect in the northern city.

“Independence Day in Helsinki overall has been the quietest in memory,” described Karlsson.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT