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Climate activists detained after protest at government building

Friday is the tenth day of Elokapina's Syyskapina ('Autumn Rebellion'), which is calling on Finland's government to declare a climate emergency.

Police carried some of the protestors away from the building. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle
Yle News

Police have broken up a demonstration by climate activists from the Elokapina protest movement — the Finnish branch of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion — after protestors chained and glued themselves to the entrance of the Government Palace building in downtown Helsinki on Friday morning.

Initially police ordered the estimated 200 protestors to leave the area, as the protest was not organised in accordance with the Assembly Act and the organisers had not given advance notice. About half complied with the order and the remainder were removed one-by-one by police.

In a statement, the group said that police told the protestors they were being held on suspicions of aggravated invasion of public premises.

Story continues after the photo.

Protestors from the Elokapina climate action movement outside the Government Palace building in Helsinki on Friday morning. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

The group also demanded a meeting with Minister of Finance and chair of the Centre Party Annika Saarikko. They said they have met with representatives from other parties, but not from the Centre.

Saarikko has previously said that she does not consider it appropriate to declare a climate emergency. Elokapina spokesperson Iokis Laisi told Yle that the protesters were prepared to wait all day at the doors of the Government Palace for the minister to meet with them. However, police had removed all of the protestors by 2.30pm.

Story continues after the photo.

The protestors are demanding that Finland's government declare a climate emergency. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Police informed the protestors shortly after the demonstration began that occupying the exits of the Government Palace building was not acceptable.

There were also reports of Elokapina demonstrations taking place on the steps of the Parliament building as well as on Ritarikatu, close to Senate Square, where an estimated 30 protestors had gathered.

Friday is the tenth day of Elokapina's Syyskapina ('Autumn Rebellion') which began last week when protestors blocked Helsinki's main thoroughfare Mannerheimintie and continued this week with the blocking of traffic on the capital's Pitkäsilta bridge.

The 'August Rebellion' calls on Finland's government to declare a climate and environmental emergency, and to create binding legislation that will achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, a decade ahead of the government's current goal of 2035.

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