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Police monitor social media for anti-immigrant sentiment following Oulu murders

Fears of a backlash against ethnic minorities after last week’s brutal axe attack have prompted higher levels of alert among community patrols, and increased online monitoring, police say.

Image: Yle

Police investigating the double axe-murder in Oulu last week say they have increased monitoring on social media, over fears of an anti-immigrant backlash.

Two men were hacked to death in a pub in Oulu’s Tuira district last week as customers looked on in horror. The suspect, who was fatally shot hours later when police tried to apprehend him, was described as a man with “dark skin” and of “foreign background’, who had lived in Finland for some years.

The man’s identity has not been released by police, prompting a number of rumours to circulate among online chat forums.

On Monday the head of the investigation, Detective Inspector Ari-Pekka Kouva, told reporters that Oulu police are looking out for signs of anti-immigrant feeling “boiling over”.

”We are monitoring social media more closely than normal,” Kouva said. He added that neighbourhood patrols have also been placed on alert.

Authorities have been worried about a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment following the killings, and have been eager to reinforce the message that this was an individual act.

”I want to underline once again that these were the actions of a single person clearly suffering from mental health problems, and who in no way represents other immigrants,” Kouva said.

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