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Men charged for disrupting Soldiers of Odin procession

The accused were protesting a demonstration held by the far-right group in Tampere last year.

Soldiers of Odinin logo takin selässä.
Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Three men have been charged with leading a violent riot during a demonstration by far-right group Soldiers of Odin held in Tampere last year.

The accused had participated in a counter-demonstration held in response to a procession by the anti-immigration group in downtown Tampere in May 2019.

Regional Prosecutor Olli Sulkonen said the situation escalated into a violent clash.

"Police were able to defuse the situation through physical intervention. A few stones and eggs were thrown. No significant injuries occurred," Sulkonen said.

The trial will take place on Tuesday at Pirkanmaa District Court. The prosecutor is demanding suspended prison sentences for two of the accused and a fine for the third.

80-person procession

Around 80 people participated in the Soldiers of Odin procession held on 18 May in the Tampere city centre. According to police, the group had notified officials of its intention to assemble for the march.

Police said that the events occurred as the procession was coming to an end. Protesters repeatedly attempted to obstruct the progress of the march by shouting and being disruptive. The clash took place at the park next to Tampere’s old library building.

"There was provocation on both sides. There was some degree of physical contact between the two groups. So far there is no information to indicate that anyone was injured during the incident," police said in a statement.

Officers detained a total of four people, none of whom were members of the right-wing group. Police said that procession participants were not suspected of any wrongdoing.

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