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Finnish People First Party chairman Marco De Wit wrestling with a teenage boy during his election campaign in Helsinki on April 12, 2019. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

”I really wish that I could sink my foot into Marco’s ribs,” said a boy in his teens to a girl about the same age.

“Oh! You’re getting aggressive,” the girl said.

“Yeah! And actually, I already did,” he continued, “when he was brawling on the ground.”

This dialogue didn’t happen somewhere in the dark, restless outskirts of the city but in the bright daylight in front of the Kamppi Shopping Center in Helsinki on Friday afternoon. That’s where various political parties were holding campaigns, making last-minute appeals to voters before the parliament elections on Sunday.

The man the boy was referring to is Marco de Wit, 51, chairman of Suomen Kansa Ensin Party (Finnish People First). Marco is a candidate in the parliamentary elections. He was making his message heard by the aid of a loud microphone and a couple of banners.

Marco explaining the worplay in his election banners. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

At 13:45, about one hour and thirty minutes before the aforementioned dialogue took place, Marco was speaking about immigrants using wordplay. He was explaining the wording in the banners.

“’Matut’ are invaders,” he said. It’s an acronym for ‘maahantunkeutuja’ (invader).”

According to Marco, it’s a different thing than an immigrant, for example. “Maahantunkeutuja” is what it is,” he said. “An invader. A problem.”

He continued his monologue, which included the threats of Finland becoming ghetto-like and the rise of extreme Islamism and that if the teenage girls who were watching and listening wouldn’t be careful could become victims of sexual abuse by “problem immigrants.”

“Am I of the wrong color?” asked another teenaged boy, swaying on his heels, holding a can of something.

The boy took a few steps as close to Marco as he could get. Marco pushed him away and reminded that he is a candidate for the parliament and that he has the permission of the city to keep a certain small space for himself and his campaign.

Marco shouting at the police. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

That’s when Marco called for the police for the first time. It took a while for them to arrive. And when they did, Marco was shouting at them as loud as he could, surfing in the grey area of insults and profanities.

“Suvakki-poliisi,” was the word he repeated.

It’s mockery for “tolerant.” “Suvaitsevainen” in Finnish—tolerant for people of different religions and ethnic groups.

The police left. Perhaps, they didn’t want to hear such harsh language or they didn’t feel a real threat.

“And so, the police are gone!” Marco shouted in the microphone.

“A candidate in the parliament elections cannot get police protection. Imagine if the chair of Left Alliance was speaking and someone attacked. It would be very different,” he said.

Marco dialed the emergency number. “Can you imagine that I have been calling the number several times and cannot get through?”

The teenagers started becoming more restless.

Young boys started making advances and a friend of Marco’s had to step in. He was pushing them away. The crowd started throwing cans, cups and plastic bottles.

Once, a boy sneaked in from behind and threw a full can of something on Marco’s back. Then, someone spat on Marco.

There was a short outburst. Someone tried to hit Marco who was wearing glasses and after the outburst, the glasses were gone. Broken.

Marco’s face got bruises after the attacks. His glasses were broken. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“My glasses are gone but apparently these attackers are not worth much. The guy who punched me was like a stake for supporting a plant, so he didn’t hurt me.”

Another boy attacked. This time the security guards of the shopping center stepped in and took him away.

There were attempts of calling the police back. Some patrols came and Marco gave them the same harsh lecture of having to do his campaign in the middle of hooligans without police protection. The police left.

“So, the police left again,” he said.

“Well, I can take care of myself, protect myself and I will,” he continued, starting to sound more serious.

Then it happened.

A group of teens lashed out on Marco.

They threw punches and then Marco took one teenaged boy and smashed him on the ground. It was Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the street. Marco utilized a side mount.

Two other men grabbed the attacker from the legs and pulled him away. Marco stood up. The boy didn’t move. He seemed unconscious.

The police rushed in.

They checked the boy’s pulse.

They moved him into a sitting position.

Suddenly the boy woke up.

His left leg seemed numb.

The police took him away without a shoe on his left leg.

Then Marco started lecturing the police again.

Finnish People First Party’s election banners were torn down by teenagers. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Tony Öhberg