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“The police grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me at the concrete,” said Mehnaz Omari, 51, a dark-haired lady with a husky voice after all the screaming in the rally which started peacefully on the chilly Saturday afternoon in Helsinki. She was now standing with a bruised knee amongst her friends at Ullanlinna district behind the Turkish embassy, the tall and wide building with thick red and yellow walls of brick.
For Omari and about 20 other Finns with Kurdish roots, the embassy stood as a symbol of terror and death, as suicide bombers, apparently of the Islamic State militant group ISIS, had targeted a Kurdish peace rally in the country’s capital Ankara on Saturday morning, killing at least 95 people and wounding nearly 190. The Kurdish-Finns are firm believers that the Turkish government is one of the funders of ISIS.
“We demonstrated against ISIS and marched from the Helsinki centre to the Turkish embassy. We threw eggs at the embassy,” Omari said, “then the police came and grabbed me and others.” “Soon, so many police cars arrived that it looked like a hundred cars.”
Omari, who moved from Iran to Finland in 2002, said that when she experienced the violent force of the Finnish police, she felt like “her heart was burning.”
“Finland is supposed to be a democratic country and now it seems like they are becoming violent like the police in Turkey.”
“This is not supposed to be so.”
The police reported that the protesters had thrown rocks, both, at the embassy and at the officers. One of the windows at a side door of the embassy had a crack, which could have been caused by a rock – or something else.
According to Omari, her son Hadi, 32, and three others from their group, the protesters never threw rocks.
“We threw eggs. Where can we even find rocks in this area?” Hadi said.
The group said they witnessed at least two women getting bruised in the clash with the law enforcement.
“Another woman was vomiting and she could not bend to sit,” Omari said.
The police arrested four. They also used pepper spray, which Omari thought was also unnecessary.
“We were just about to leave.”