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Midsummer Eve in Finland sees four drownings and a mass brawl

Police detained four children after a violent incident in Helsinki.

Två båtar skymtar genom en röd livboj.
Coast guards had a busy night on Midsummer Eve. Image: Juho Teir / Yle
Yle News

Four people drowned in Finland on Midsummer Eve and police broke up a mass brawl on a popular Helsinki beach as people flocked to shorelines across the country.

Conditions were warm and sunny across the country, contributing to an uptick in tasks for the coast guard too: in the Gulf of Finland coast guards had to assist in 23 separate incidents, although none of them were regarded as serious.

Most of those callouts were technical problems or vessels that had run aground.

In Helsinki the authorities had more serious issues to deal with. Police were attacked with bottles, fireworks and rocks after breaking up a mass brawl on Hietaniemi beach, and eventually detained four under-18s.

"A group of young people behaved aggressively towards police," said Inspector Tuukka Skottman of Helsinki police. "Fireworks were fired at police."

According to a press release from the Helsinki police department, officers were called to the beach just before 2am to break up a fight.

When they did so, the release says they were surrounded by a crowd. which then began to attack them. Police said they used pepper spray to disperse the crowd after several warnings were given.

Windows were broken on at least six police and three private cars, and some police suffered mild injuries, according to the police statement.

Traditionally Midsummer weekend sees a number of drownings, as people spend more time in and around the lakes and beaches of Finland, often after having consumed alcohol.

This year was no different, with drownings recorded in Espoo, Pälkäne, Rautalampi and Kotka on Midsummer Eve.

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