Picture: Dan Pearce

ft-forssa-mapForssa, the southern small city of about 17,400 inhabitants, turned into a stage for violence when dozens of native Finns and refugees clashed on Tuesday evening in front of a refugee center. Some of the participants were carrying striking weapons, such as baseball bats and iron pipes.

At 17.20, the emergency center received a number of calls, and all available police patrols were sent to the refugee center. When the police arrived, most of the Finns had split the scene.

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Later, police arrested two men. One, 17, is suspected of an illegal threat. He had threatened the refugees with a baseball bat. “Most of the weapons were carried by the native Finns, but some of the refugees had a few striking weapons, too,” said Detective Superintended Martti Hirvonen to the Finnish news agency, STT.

The police arrested another suspect, a man, 18, from the center of the city. His involvement in the events at the center is unclear, but the police arrested him for an assault conducted one and a half weeks ago at the center of Forssa.

According to the police, four to six people received injuries in the clash at the refugee center. During Wednesday, one new report for an assault was filed.

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The number of arrests and reports is, according to the police, minimal compared with the reality. There were dozens, almost a hundred people, involved in the clash.

“The situation [in Forssa] has escalated, and the police are looking into it with a keener eye,” said Detective Superintended Tomi Repo.

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The police don’t tolerate racism and will interfere with ethnic discrimination, hate, and speech that stirs up illegalities and violence, whether it’s targeted against the refugees or the locals.