HELSINKI—On Wednesday morning, 8:45, the climate activists of the international Elokapina group sat on the wet blacktop of Mariankatu and stopped the traffic.
This time the police were notified beforehand. For their part, they were ensuring no stray cars would accidentally take the wrong turn where about 80 protesters wearing masks were sitting on blankets and what looked like pieces of cardboard.
This was the second time recently when the activists had gathered to draw attention to the warming climate.
During their previous stunt in early October, however, they cut the traffic on one of the busier main streets without notifying the police in advance, not too far from where they were sitting now.
After sitting several hours on Kaisaniemenkatu, some chained, others in lotus position, and after several demands by the police, the law enforcement gassed them with O.C. spray. A weeks-long debate followed in the media about whether the police used excessive force. (According to a report by the National Police Board, the advice, requests and orders given by the police were not successful. Thus, the use of force was necessary as a last resort.)
Mariankatu is located in Kruunuhaka district, home to many 19th-century government buildings from the House of the Estates to the Presidential Palace.
Also, just around the corner was the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, and that’s where they were discussing the common agricultural policy of the European Union.
For those familiar with the subject the policy is known as CAP reform package.
According to the Elokapina group, this policy lacks substance, and changes are needed.
After 14:00 in the afternoon, the protest was over.
“The protest was arranged without significantly disturbing the traffic,” the police tweeted just before 14:30.