The Communist Party of Finland (abbreviated as SKP in Finnish) says it's opposed to proposals by the government to ban the use of Nazi and Soviet symbols in a political context.
SKP vice-chair Jiri Mäntysalo told Yle that the party plans to continue using the hammer and the sickle — as used on the former Soviet Union's flag — even if the symbols are criminalised.
Veikko Laine, chair of the SKP's Turku branch, said the proposal was a step in the direction of banning the party outright.
"It could affect demonstrations, for example, and our own objectives. I see the sickle and the hammer as symbols of work and livelihood for people. They are the tools with which society has been built," he said.
In a press statement, SKP further argued that the Soviet symbols should not be banned because they are used to promote the idea of equality. The party also noted that banning the symbols would be seen as a violation of EU law.
Last week, Finland's government published a statement on how it plans to tackle racism and discrimination in Finnish society. One of the proposals set out in the statement related to the use of symbols such as the swastika, as used by Nazi Germany, and the hammer and sickle of the former Soviet Union.
The government said it will probe the possibility of outlawing the political use of these symbols, although State Secretary Risto Artjoki noted that introducing such a ban would be "legally challenging".
Parliament will begin debating the government's statement on Wednesday afternoon.
The Communist Party of Finland has an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 members. In the last parliamentary election in the spring of this year, the SKP garnered about 0.1 percent of the overall vote, with just over 3,000 ballots cast in its favour.
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