Police clear long-running anti-immigrant protest in Helsinki

Marco de Wit, the leader of the anti-immigrant group Suomi Ensin, was pictured speaking to police officers at Helsinki Railway Square on Monday.

The Helsinki Police Department delivered on its promise to clear the long-running protest organised by Suomi Ensin (Eng. Finland First) at Helsinki Railway Square on Monday.

Roughly a dozen members of the anti-immigrant group were gathering their belongings, surrounded by a crowd of curious bystanders, as the police officers arrived at the scene – as promised – at approximately 6pm on Monday, the deadline given to the protesters to vacate the square.

The decision to clear the protest camp was made under the assembly act, as the protest was deemed to pose an immediate threat to public safety, according to the Helsinki Police Department.

A few of the protesters are suspected of assaulting by-standers last weekend.

Jari Taponen, a detective inspector at the Helsinki Police Department, revealed to Helsingin Sanomat that the organiser of the protest had been ordered to step up its efforts to uphold security at and around the protest camp. The camp, he added, had to be shut down after the organiser failed to comply with the order.

“The situation has taken a turn for the worse in recent times,” he said to the daily. “We’re under the impression that the situation wouldn’t improve if [the camp] was relocated. The situation now is that it has posed a threat to bystanders, and it’ll be shut down.”

The Helsinki Police Department announced at 6.30 pm that the situation at the square is under control and that a total of three people have been brought into custody – two for insubordination and one for resisting a police officer. A fourth person was also taken into custody as the operation to clear the camp was nearing its end, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

One of the people brought into custody was the leader of Suomi Ensin, Marco de Wit. De Wit was handcuffed and escorted into a police car amidst loud applauds from the onlookers after he seemed to resist a police officer.

The protest camp was relocated to Helsinki Railway Square in February.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva

Source: Uusi Suomi

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

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