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In my journalistic career spanning nearly two decades, I’ve never seen a man removed from a press conference in Finland.
The joint conference between President Putin and Trump on Monday evening was different.
But this man cannot call himself a journalist; he’s an activist.
There’s a big difference.
An activist’s mind knows that the whole world is watching, so he will pull out a stunt, such as displaying a banner or—as in this case—a piece of paper with a message written on it. His message said, “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.”
This man had received press accreditation from a left-wing paper. Instead of proving to be worthy of his credentials, he chose to pull out a paper with big letters and optioned to start waving it around like a protester at the Senate Square. But his location was the Hall of State in the Presidential Palace. That’s no place for a protest.
The video is all over the web now. After refusing to submit the paper his glasses are flying off in the semi-choke hold of a sturdy Finnish policeman. He insists on resisting even after several, apparently American, policemen join in escorting him out of the hall.
Soon after the incident, Trump and Putin stepped behind their respective podiums, and the conference could begin.
According to the activist, he was held by the Finnish authorities at the Presidential Palace and then manhandled and cuffed on hands and legs to detention facility. He was let out around midnight.
Meanwhile, other journalists asked for opportunities to ask questions from the presidents. They had words written on paper but they kept them to themselves.
That’s what journalists do.