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Anarchists harass Yle staff at Helsinki demo

Two anarchists lunged towards an Yle camera journalist during a demonstration in Helsinki on Saturday. Police say upwards of 100 people attended the "Katu on punk" event, which is part of a week of anarchist happenings.

Two people identifying as anarchists acted aggressively towards a camera operator working for national broadcaster Yle on Saturday in Karhupuisto, Helsinki.

The cameraman was on hand documenting the start of the anarchist "Katu on punk" demonstration in Kallio when a person speaking English shoved the reporter and tried to interfere in their work. A woman holding an open umbrella also ran directly at the camera operator.

The altercation calmed down after some anarchists on site explained to the two people that in Finland representatives of the media are allowed to film and record video freely in public spaces. Police officers also spoke with the female anarchist. No one was injured.

Street closed, harassment rare

More than 100 demonstrators left the Karhupuisto park at 1 pm, with some seven police patrols in attendance.

The group marched along the Teollisuuskatu street, which they soon occupied. The participants said the occupation would last until 9 pm.

Some of the anarchists proceeded to smudge security cameras on Aleksis Kiven katu with a substance that reportedly caused one onlooker's eyes to smart. Police say that some minor damages were incurred during the march, such as messages being painted or sprayed on walls. The instances are being investigated.

No injuries or other personal damages had been reported at the time of writing, nor any purported danger to the public.

Police say that the somewhat large number of participants in the demonstration and occupation did not come as a surprise to them – unlike the fact that a demonstrator interfered with a journalist's work.

Anarkistien mielenosoitus.
Image: Kristiina Tolvanen / Yle

"I don't recall ever even hearing about a situation where a journalist would have been interfered with in Finland during my career," says chief inspector Jere Roimu. "A highly unusual situation."

Roimu himself did not witness the harassment, but said that the two anarchists in question were removed from the area.

The "Katu on punk" ("the street is punk") event is part of a week of anarchist happenings called Musta Kallio ("Black Kallio"). Earlier this week police used a tactical spray at an anarchist event in Hesinki's Dallapé Park. Police say they used forcible measures because their orders to turn down the volume of the music being played were not followed.

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