Skip to content

Seven detained and brawls at Independence Day marches – neo-Nazis, far-right and counter-protesters clash in Helsinki

A brawl broke out at the far-right 612 march on Finland's 99th Independence day. Police received advance notice of up to 10 different marches, gatherings or protests to be held to mark the occasion, which is slightly up from last year.

Pohjoismaisen vastarintaliikkeen jäseniä Hakaniemessä.
The march by the Finnish Resistance Movement commenced from Hakaniemi market square. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Police have detained seven people related to the various marches and protests happening on Finland's 99th Independence day. Those apprehended have attempted to interrupt peaceful demonstrations. 

According to the police, an estimated 3 000 protesters joined the far-right 612 march. The protesters met at Töölöntori and progressed towards the Hietaniemi cemetery.

A brawl broke out at the meeting point of the march, but has now been contained.

An Yle reporter on-site reports the march progressed peacefully, with just over ten counter-protesters flanking the 612 demonstration's route.

Previous years have seen members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement participating in the 612 march.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, two people were detained by police after infiltrating a Nordic Resistance Movement march. One person has been sent to hospital and another to the main police station in Pasila for questioning. Police report the ten Independence Day marches planned this year have otherwise gone peacefully.

Kaisaniemi park in Central Helsinki was the central location for demonstrations overshadowing Finland's 99th Independence Day celebrations. Two of the largest demonstrations of the day, one by the Nordic Resistance Movement and another by anti-Nazi counter-protesters converged in the park late in the afternoon.

Hundreds of police officers had gathered in the park in full riot control gear, forming a barrier between the two groups in an effort to prevent clashes.

According to police, the Nordic Resistance Movement demonstration gathered at the Hakaniemi market square and attracted under 200 protesters.

A significantly larger, nearly three thousand strong counter-demonstration against the neo-Nazis started at Helsinki Railway Station. The counter-demonstration was organised by Varisverkosto, an anti-fascist group, the anarchist A-ryhmä, and Helsinki’s youth wing of the Left Alliance.

The counter-demonstration was sparked by recent news of neo-Nazi sentiments growing stronger in Finland. Last September, a passerby was assaulted at the Central Railway Station by one of the founding members of the Finnish Resistance Movement during one of the group's demonstrations. The 28-year-old man died a week later in hospital.  

Police received notice of up to ten different marches, gatherings or protests to be held on this year's Independence Day, which is slightly up from last year.

_6.12.2016 18:36: Amount of protesters updated. _

_6.12.2016 20:03: Updates on the 612 march added. _

_6.12.2016 20:20: Number of people detained corrected. _

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia