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APN Podcast: When can police use force against protests?

This week APN looked at the use of pepper spray against climate protesters. 

All Points North podcast logo featuring photo of Extinction Rebellion protesters on Saturday 3 October, 2020.
All Points North logo featuring photo of Extinction Rebellion protesters on Saturday 3 October, 2020. Image: Pekka Tynell / Yle

In this week's All Points North podcast we look at the use of force by police to control a climate change protest in central Helsinki on Saturday.

Extinction Rebellion protesters had sat down in the road, blocking traffic, and were there for several hours — before the police deployed pepper spray.

"None of us had shown any indication that we were a threat, or violent," said Extinction Rebellion protester Till Sawala. "I feel like maybe pepper spray is a tool for use as a last resort, in a self-defence situation, but they were using it against completely peaceful protesters."

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Story continues after audio

Audio: Yle

Sawala told APN that he had been sprayed repeatedly by police and denied water or after-care. Police disputed that claim both in a press release earlier in the week and a report published on Thursday, in which the National Police Board says that the use of force was proportionate and justified.

Prosecutors and the Parliamentary Ombudsman are looking into the incident following complaints from protesters.

Also in this week's show, we report that the English version of the Koronavilkku app is finally available. With more than 40 percent of the population already using the app, we asked Aleksi Yrttiaho from THL to explain what made Finns so keen to download it.

"Well first of all we are number one in the Digital Economy Index, so we are a nation full of tech-savvy people for whom using apps and applications and having access to smartphones is something that is part of our everyday life," said Yrttiaho.

"The other aspect is that we have quite high trust in the government activities and trust that we are trying to make solutions that help us to tackle this problem of Covid together. We have good communal spirit, and we want to help to fight Covid."

Get involved!

This week's show was presented by Egan Richardson and Denise Wall. Our producer was Mark B. Odom and the audio engineer was Anttoni Wikström.

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