Two stories, two versions about an incident involving asylum seekers in Finland

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Two stories, two versions. One by Migrant Tales where asylum seekers allege that a white Finnish driver in a GMC SUV tried to hit them and another one in Mikkeli-based Länsi Savo where the police suspect a traffic dispute that led to an argument where one asylum seeker got hit in the head.  

Here’s what was published in Migrant Tales: Three asylum seekers were returning to the reception center near Mikkeli, located 230km north of Helsinki, on Sunday at 2-2:30am after going fishing. An SUV on the road came so close to hitting them that two had to jump off their bikes. The people in the SUV went after the asylum seekers with an axe and shovel.

Länsi-Savo quotes police officer Johanna Parviainen stating the following: “Apparently, due to the darkness, the driver didn’t notice the bike riders on the road. That turned into a situation where one of the bike riders fell off his bike even if the driver attempted to dodge them.”

The police claim the situation led to a dispute but didn’t allegedly interview the asylum seekers with an interpreter. The police promised to question the asylum seekers on a later date.

Here’s a simple question: What was the SUV doing near the asylum reception center at 2-2:30am and why did they have an axe and shovel in their possession?

There are other questions that the Länsi-Savo story raises. Why did it only take for granted the word of the police? Did the police give the benefit of the doubt to to the driver and passenger(s)? Why wasn’t there anything mentioned in the story about the axe and shovel used to attack the asylum seekers? Why didn’t the police mention this to the reporter who wrote the story?

Traffic violation or hate crime?

Could Länsi-Savo’s version of the story be an example of how the police and the media brush possible hate crimes under the rug?

We don’t know and the police investigation is still pending but its important that we get to the bottom of what happened.

Two stories and two versions about an incident involving asylum seekers and white Finns. The story on the left was first published by Migrant Tales and the one on the right after we tipped off Länsi-Savo.

Another important factor that we should take into consideration when these types of stories are published by the media and we read statements by the police  is the toxic anti-immigration climate in Finland.

Speaking generally, racism and bigotry promote suspicion. This, in turn, gives the benefit of doubt to the ethnic group that has power and privilege.