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Watch: Riot gear-wearing police break up deportation protest in Jyväskylä

Police in central Finland clashed with a large group of protesters on Monday afternoon as officers began the deportation process of a young Afghan family housed at the Salmiranta asylum seeker reception centre in Jyväskylä. Police had planned on removing the family from the facility at about noon, but it took nearly seven hours and dozens of riot gear-clad officers using pepper spray and brute force to ward off the growing crowd of protesters.

Uutisvideot: Poliisi ja mielenosoittajat ottivat yhteen vastaanottokeskuksen edustalla Jyväskylässä
Uutisvideot: Poliisi ja mielenosoittajat ottivat yhteen vastaanottokeskuksen edustalla Jyväskylässä

An Afghan family - a father, mother and their eight month-old baby - who face deportation from Finland were removed from their residence by police early on Monday evening. However, due to a crowd of protesters who tried to thwart the officers from carrying out their orders, the removal did not go as police had planned.

By mid-afternoon some seven additional police units were called in to face the protesters, with a few officers taking shelter in the deportees' home during the confrontation.

At that point, Detective Chief Inspector Jari Kinnunen told reporters that officers were trying to defuse the situation by negotiation.

After talking did not appear to improve matters, later in the afternoon dozens of additional officers dressed in riot gear and more police vehicles arrived.

Video footage captured by Yle shows officers on the scene using pepper spray and physical force to disperse some of the protesters, who were heard shouting "no deportations" and seen blocking the road.

Police: Reinforcements deployed for safety reasons

Later, Kinnunen said police called in reinforcements for safety reasons, saying the decision to use a large number of officers was in order to avoid personal and material damage as much as they could.

Police said that two protesters were taken into custody - one for disobedience of an official and another for disorderly conduct. Police also report that no personal or material damage was reported in the incident.

Several videos were shared online, some of which show police tossing protesters blocking the country road into a grassy ditch and one clip that appeared to show an officer using pepper-spray directly in the face of a man crouched by a tree near the advancing officers.

The director of the Salmiranta asylum seeker reception centre, Henrik Mujunen of the Finnish Red Cross, said that police have carried out deportation removals of people from the centre in the past, but under much more peaceful circumstances.

Mujunen said that residents and personnel at the centre would try to return to daily life, saying he anticipates a long week of discussion about Monday's events.

Some 380 asylum seekers currently use the Salmiranta asylum seeker reception centre, with more than 200 people living at the facility itself. The remainder of asylum applicants - including the family being deported - live in private accommodation.

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