A picture of football star Jari Litmanen's statue draped with sheets resembling a Ku Klux Klan costume on Sunday morning raised eyebrows on social media. The statue escapade marks the second Ku Klux Klan-related incident in Lahti in less than a week.
Last Thursday evening a group of 49 asylum seekers arriving to Lahti were confronted by Finnish flag-carrying protesters who threw rocks and fireworks at them. One of the protesters was dressed in a white robe and hat resembling Ku Klux Klan clothing.
Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Päivi Nerg characterised Thursday’s incident as an isolated one but said officials were concerned about resistance to housing asylum seekers.
Some 250 asylum seekers were scheduled to be housed at a reception centres in the Lahti municipality of Henala.
Thursday’s violent protest received quite a bit of attention on social media, and according to Yle Uutiset reporter Heikki Ahonen, Sunday’s statue incident is being discussed on the internet around the world.
In a separate incident on Thursday in Kouvula, police said they were holding a 50-year old man who reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail at an emergency shelter. No one was injured in the attack.