Nour, one of the organizers of the #RightToLife Helsinki Railway Square demonstration that was closed after 140 days by the police on Friday, is hopeful that a new location will be found soon.
“We had talks today with Helsinki city officials and the police about a new site,” he told Migrant Tales by phone. “No place or date was given yet by the officials, but we are looking at places like Kiasma and Kamppi.”
Nour of the #RightToLife demonstration. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.
Nour admitted that the Helsinki Railway Square was a perfect place since its location in the heart of the city and a lot of people pass through there.
“I’m not counting my chicks before they’re hatched,” he said. “I’m not either optimistic or pessimistic.”
Nour was, however, adamant: “The demonstration will continue.”
Three Afghan asylum seekers had an appointment with the police who detain them. Two of them got the second negative decision earlier.
At the police station, a police official told them that they were detaining them because they were going to flee the country. Before locking them up, the police asked them to sign their deportation agreement. They refused.
”We will not sign it,” said one of the Afghan asylum seekers.
”We will deport you anyway [even if you sign it or not],” the police officer said.
Not all Finnish police treat Afghan asylum seekers in this way. Some treat them with respect and fairly.
Deporting people back to Afghanistan, and despite the Finnish Immigration Service’s (Migri) assurances, the country hasn’t been safe for over thirty years.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) continues to insist that countries like Iraq, where Finnish nationals are discouraged from visiting, is a safe country to deport people. Migri deports everyone they don’t give residence permits. You leave either “voluntarily” or by “force.”
Iraq isn’t a safe country, and sensible people understand that Migri’s tough asylum policy hinges on the Blue Reform, formerly the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*.
Even if the PS split into two parties, both loathe asylum seekers from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
Migrant Tales documented two cases last year of two Iraqi asylum seekers who faced violent deaths upon returning from Finland.
The latest story to reach us is of an Iraqi who was “deported voluntarily” to his home country two months ago and attacked by militias on Saturday.
The history of the Iraqi victim is very similar to the many thousands that fled to Finland in 2015.
A fellow asylum seeker from Iraq writes:
The asylum seeker, who alerted us, said that a car had followed him near his home with three people. They cut him with a knife and spared his life. “The next time we see you, we will kill you!” they warned.
Let’s go back a day and recall one of the most incredible excuses to shut down the #RighToLive demonstration in downtown Helsinki. Deputy police chief Heikki Kopperaoinen toldvYLE News Friday that the demonstration could no longer be held in the Helsinki Railway Square after 140 days because of security issues.
UPDATED at 10:08 pm:
In plain English, “security issues” mean provocations and threats by far-right groups like Finland First.
Instead of giving space to far right groups, racism, and bigotry, we should stand up to such social ills.
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.
Thank you Zimema Mhone of Touch Engage Media for sending this video. Demonstrators marched Friday to the offices of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) on Friday.
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.
Blue Reform* (formerly Perussuomalaiset) Minister of Labor Jari Lindström’s special aide Sakari Puisto aimed to slash financial aid to migrant associations by 348,000 euros from 750,000 euros, reports Helsingin Sanomat. A ministry official was “shocked” when he heard such plans by Puisto in January.
Some associations that were going to see their financial aid cut included Liikkukaa, Sateenvarjo, Suomen somalilaistenliitto, Suomen Somali verkosto as well as others.
Lindström, who has tried to portray himself as “tolerant” on immigration issues, saw such a facade expose a more sinister face after the scoop by Helsingin Sanomat.
Plans to drastically cut financial aid to associations that work with migrants fall into the anti-immigration policies of the Perussuomalaiset (PS), which have now split into two parties after Jussi Halla-aho, whose hostile views on immigration are known and who was convicted for hate speech in 2012, was elected chair the PS.
One of the reasons why the PS grew in Finland has been a simple message: We’ll take care of the Somali and “migrant problem” in Finland.
“Taking care” of the so-called “problem” has meant hostility towards migrants, the tightening of immigration policy and undermining integration programs to migrants.
Habiba Ali, a Social Democratic Party councilperson of the city of Espoo, said that if the cuts suggested by Puisto would have gone ahead, it would have undermined the work of these organizations to help integrate them into society.
“Sports is important for [some] migrants if they want to integrate into Finnish society,” she said. “Investing in integration policies makes sense since this will mean more effective integration and future taxpayers.”
Read the full story here.
Ali said that integration is a two-way process and that the law should apply to everyone equally.
#SaveLARA is one of the most recent anti-deportation cases that has caught social media attention in Finland. The young 24-year-old Iraqi who came in 2015 was supposed to be deported to Iraqi’s capital city Baghdad on Monday but it failed. Creating a scene inside the flight, the woman was forced off the flight by the pilot.
Lara claims as well that she was beaten by the police after she started to scream at the top of her voice.
“She was held on the floor with four police officers applying pressure on each of her limbs while another officer beat her,” an Iraqi asylum seeker who spoke to Lara told Migrant Tales. “She is suffering from a nervous breakdown because she doesn’t want to be deported.”
In another video of Lara’s mother, who is in Finland, is caught crying and pleading in a hysterical voice to not send her daughter to Iraq, where she will be killed like her husband was by Iraqi militia a month ago.
The young Iraqi asylum seeker claims that the Finnish police beat her.
Lara claims that she was beaten by the police.
Northern Finnish Kemi city councilperson Harri Tauriainen is a white supremacist that is head over heels about US President Donald Trump. In a sloppy human-interest story about Tauriainen, the state-run Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) makes no mention of the councilperson’s racist and bigoted political views except him denying that he’s a racist and neo-Nazi sympathizer.
The Finnish media, like other media in the EU, has difficulty in grasping how racism impacts migrants and minorities since they are white.
In the YLE story, there was no mention as well of Tauriainen’s most infamous quotes like, “It’s incredible that this human trash [convicted foreign criminals] aren’t put in their places. Put a stamp on their asses and deport them for good from Finland.”
Read the original story here.
But if the YLE reporter appears to suffer from convenient amnesia, she could take the trouble to see one of Tauriainen’s latest Facebook posts on how “hate speech is legal in the United States,” and how “illegal human trafficking rages on.”
In the story, YLE only had nice things to say about Tauriainen even if it mentions the far-right vigilante group Soldiers of Odin. The reporter even played down the 47.4% plunge in votes he got in the 2017 municipal elections from 2012.
Migrant Tales will go even further to help the YLE reporter to understand who Tauriainen is and what he symbolizes to our ever-growing culturally diverse society.