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Prosecutors to probe suspected ethnic agitation at protest near school

The Prosecutor General's office has been asked to consider whether comments made by anti-immigrant Finland First demonstrators could be construed as ethnic agitation, or any other crime. The request comes from Finland’s Ombudsman for Non-Discrimination. The demonstrators set up a protest outside an eastern Helsinki school after getting their hands on a 10-second audio recording of Arabic inadvertently played on the school's PA system.

Image: Risto Koskinen / Yle

A demonstration by members of the anti-immigrant  group "Finland First" (Suomi ensin) near the Vesala School in eastern Helsinki in May has prompted the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman to request a probe by national prosecutors.

The Ombudsman has asked the office of the Prosecutor General to determine whether or not some protesters’ comments can be categorised as ethnic agitation, defamation or any other offence.

Helsinki police previously said that the demonstrators gathered outside the school to protest a morning assembly, in which the gathered students and staff were told about the Muslim practice of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Protest ignited by student recording

Police say that the idea for the demonstration got started when a segment of Arabic recitative (half-sung speech) was played during morning assembly for senior students at the school. Because of technically difficulties the speech was heard over the school's external loudspeakers.

One student reportedly recorded about ten seconds of audio and handed it over to Finland First members who were demonstrating at Helsinki's Central Railway Station. The protesters then decided to take their demonstration to the area near the school, police said at the time.

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