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Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Screams of help echoed on the ground floor of Sokos store on Saturday afternoon in Jyväskylä, located in Central Finland. A man was lying on the floor in a pool of blood and a woman screaming for help tried to protect another man who was being assaulted.

According to an eyewitness, the assaulters wore the colors of the Finnish Resistance Movement SVL (Suomen vastarintaliike), a militant neo-Nazi organisation.

This was the aftermath of a demonstration arranged by SVL and joined by about 40 people, which ended in assaults against three people.

Apparently the organisation was among others protesting against multiculturalism, as the group is known to glue stickers around Jyväskylä and even to spread flyers in the mailboxes stating that “Multiculturalism is harmful to your children and grandchildren.” In general, the publications of the organisation have strong elements of white supremacy, racism and antisemitism and they also oppose communism, homosexualism, the European Union and so on.

In addition to Jyväskylä, the members have known activity in the cities of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Oulu and Pori. The organisation is considered an exact replica of the Swedish Resistance Movement and is under observation of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo), who among others focus on counterterrorism.

The demonstration started peacefully in Kirkkopuisto, located in the centre, and was observed by dozens of police. After the group started moving a few blocks away to Sokos it turned violent.

The participants of the protest, men in the age of 20-30, started assaulting bystanders and tried to interrupt the work of the police.

“It seems to be clear that the demonstrators have selected as the target of the assault a person who was familiar to at least some of the protesters,” said the leader of the investigations, the detective chief inspector, Mikko Porvali.

“When he [the main target] was being assaulted two people of his entourage were also assaulted.”

According to Porvali, two of the victims sustained bloody bruises and one of the victims suffered minor injuries which didn’t require treatment.

When the assaults started, police used pepper spray and it took about a minute to end the violence, where about 10 people were involved.

In total, 30 people were caught.

“The police surrounded the group in front of Sokos and marched them away. They were quite humble when there were two police officers per person,” a witness said.

Source: The police