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Police remove Erdogan effigy from Helsinki protest

The demonstration took place in front of the Turkish embassy on Sunday, and was attended by less than 100 people.

Kuvaleike tvitteristä, poliisi mielenosoituksessa
Protestors published a video of the police intervention on Twitter.
Yle News

Police intervened during an anti-Turkey demonstration in Helsinki on Sunday to remove an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protest was held in front of the Turkish Embassy in the Kaivopuisto district of the capital.

"The police interpreted that the intention was to discredit the sitting Turkish president," Inspector Esa Pennanen of the Helsinki police department told Yle.

Pennanen added that a criminal complaint has been filed with police on the grounds of defamation. However, investigating officers do not as yet have a clear idea of which protestors brought the effigy to the event.

Although the right to demonstrate in Finland is enshrined in the constitution, the Criminal Code prohibits defamation.

Aside from the Erdogan effigy, police said the demonstration passed off peacefully and was allowed to continue after it was removed.

"One person was fined for getting too close to the Turkish embassy," Pennanen noted.

The demonstration had received prior permission from the police, and started at Senate Square in the centre of Helsinki before proceeding to the Turkish Embassy. According to police estimates, less than 100 people participated in the protest, although police had prepared for a larger turnout.

The demonstration was organised by a group called Rise Up 4 Rojava Finland. The group filmed the intervention by police and posted the footage on Twitter.

Rise Up 4 Rojava is an international pro-Kurdish organisation that "defends the Rojava Revolution", a military conflict taking place in northern Syria.

Another pro-Kurdish organisation in Sweden, Rojavakommittérna, came to prominence in January when demonstrators hung an effigy of President Erdogan from its legs in front of Stockholm City Hall.

The incident outraged Turkish officials and was a significant contributory factor to Turkey delaying the ratification of Sweden's bid to join Nato.

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