Police Stop ‘Finland First’ Protest By Force, Then They Take Down The Refugee Camp at Railway Square

Protesters demanding a “Right to Live” while marching up along Kaivokatu in Helsinki on June 30, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A few hundred people summoned to a “Right to Live” protest march on Friday evening in Helsinki, after the refugee tent had been dismantled to pieces at the Railway Square. The camp had been established in February to send a message to the Finnish government that the deportation of the refugees from Finland needs to stop. “We want the government to bring back the human residents permit or temporary permit which was stopped on May 17, 2016. Since this date, 70 people have been deported,” said Mohammed Jabbar, a protester from Iraq, in an interview for Finland Today in early March.

Jabbar said that all the protesters were from either Iraq or Afghanistan and that the Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI had given a negative asylum result, which meant they were facing imminent deportation. Iraq and Afghanistan are now considered “safe countries,” according to MIGRI.

“Iraq not safe! Stop the deportation!” The shouts echoed in the streets surrounding the Railway Square on Friday evening. Protesters banged drums and waved signs that screamed their core message. “I don’t like this deportation stuff. It’s a shitty thing,” said one of the protesters.” “There are no borders, there is only one Earth,” another protester was quick to add. The demonstrators continued their loud march to the office of the Finnish Immigration Service in the Sörnäinen district.

Earlier in the week on Monday, the police took down the opposing camp “Finland First” by force. In March, the camp organizer, Marco De Wit, said to Finland Today that “we think that after the refugees have received a rejection from the Finnish immigration authority they should return to their countries as the law states.” “We are protesting that the authorities are not enforcing this law and let the refugees stay even after a negative result.”

Last Monday, at 18:00, seven police vehicles arrived at the Railway Square to check whether the tent had been taken down as ordered. It was still standing.

About 10 to 15 “Finland First” demonstrators were also still standing in the square, some dressed in camouflage pants and wearing bomber jackets. A large crowd was observing and laughing when the protesters refused to take their tent down. The protesters shouted insults to the police. In result, the police caught four of the “Finland First” demonstrators, including the camp organizer, Mr De Wit.

The police had ordered the protesters to dismantle the camp because of disturbance and due to a risk to the public safety. In result, the police ordered the refugee camp to be dismantled as well, in order to improve the public safety at the Railway Square.

Additional sources: HS

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