The police service informed the #RighttoLive camp, which has been demonstrating against the Finnish Immigration Service’s unfair asylum policies and deportations since February, to disband from the Central Railway Square by 7 pm Friday. The order was given five days after the far-right Suomi ensin (Finland First) demonstration was obliged to leave the Central Railway Square on Monday.
Deputy police chief Heikki Kopperaoinen told YLE News that the #RightToLive demonstration was ordered to decamp due to security concerns.
“The decision is based on how the security situation in central Helsinki is developing,” he was quoted as saying in YLE News.
What does the deputy police chief mean by “based on how the security situation is developing?”
They are the police, and it’s their job to guarantee each person’s security, not succumb to far-right racist pressure from groups like Finland First.
Nour Jamal, one of the most active organizers of the #RightToLive demonstration, was confident that they would continue their protest despite the momentary setback.
Read the posting here.
#RightToLive spokesperson Outi Popp was disappointed as well by the decision by the police to end the demonstration in downtown Helsinki.
“The protest did not cause danger of any kind. We have complied with all of the police orders and suggestions all along,” Outi Popp was quoted as saying in YLE News.
Read the full story here.
The statement by Kopperaoinen is surprising considering if not disappointing in the face of the hostile behavior of the Finland First demonstrators, who have provoked the asylum seeker demonstrators and attacked passer byes physically.
Racism, like any other type of violence, must be challenged. Caving into its provocations and violence is not the way fight it. We must send a clear message that we won’t be provoked by such hostility.
Asking the #RightToLife demonstrators to abandon their protest Friday shows what we’ve known all along – racism and bigotry are played down by groups like the Finnish police service.