Petteri Orpo, chair of the government coalition member National Coalition Party and current Finance Minister, delayed his party’s statutory national council meeting on Saturday by a half-hour so his party’s leadership could put an appearance at the anti-racism demonstration Stop this Game (Peli poikki) in Helsinki.
Orpo admitted that it was the first protest that he had ever taken part in. He says he decided to join in because the issue was so important to him.
In his later speech to the party council, the NCP Chair reiterated his position that extremist groups’ operations should be outlawed in Finland. He said that while it won’t mean an end to the violence, it would send a clear opposing signal.
The Finance Minister also had some advice for his governmental partners, the populist Finns Party. He said the party needs to go through its ranks with a fine-toothed comb and get to the bottom of any links to far-right groups.
“I think they [the Finns’ Party] need to make it absolutely clear that they condemn violence and racism. This should also be reflected in their operations. Of course, it must start with the ministerial group, with whom we enjoy a good working relationship and there is nothing to comment on. The clear majority of their parliamentary group members and party adherents in the field also act responsibly. I expect that they will look into the matters with care,” Orpo said.