UPDATE: Finnish asylum center in Kempele is intimidated by local residents and moves to an undisclosed location

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It is shameful that an asylum reception center in Kempele, where an alleged rape of a minor took place on Monday by a suspected 17-year-old asylum seeker, has caved in to pressure. Kempele is the hometown of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who offered in September his home to asylum seekers.

According to Oulu-based daily Kaleva, the Oulun Diakonissalaitoksen Säätiö (ODL), which runs the asylum reception center for minors in Kempele, said in a statement that since Tuesday the area round the center “has been restless.” Stones and firecrackers have been thrown at the building with people have entered the premises without permission. 

Why hasn’t the police in Kempele offered protection to the residents and staff of the asylum reception center?

Citing the Oulu police service, the asylum reception center has now moved to an undisclosed location, according to YLE News.

On Saturday some 200 demonstrators protested against the asylum center and demanded that Finns only have a right to live in Finland and that the country’s borders should be immediately closed. See the video of the demonstration below.

Näyttökuva 2015-11-28 kello 19.29.55

Read full story and watch video of demonstration here.

Not one politician, never mind Prime Minister Sipilä, has said a word after he held a crisis meeting in his home town this week. Near-silence, however, that permitted the situation in Kempele to worsen.

The eerie silence of the politicians and their lack of leadership to calm matters down is shameful. Instead of standing up to xenophobia that is presently gripping Finland, Justice Minister Jari Lindström of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party added more fuel to the fire by stating that asylum seekers pose a security threat to Finland.

UPDATE: The leaders of all the political parties in parliament signed a statement on Saturday asking for calm, according to YLE. While this is an important step in the right direction, it’s sad that they try to appease Finland’s hostile climate against asylum seekers and migrants in general by stating that “only some of these asylum seekers” will be able to remain in the country.

We all know what lack of leadership and leaving xenophobia to chance can lead to. Such a situation not only poses a threat to asylum seekers but to all migrants and minorities living in Finland as well. Nobody is safe.

What Finland needs now is not mob rule or social media-style lynching but a cool head.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.

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