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No charges over 2015 Lahti demo

Nearly a year ago an anti-immigration demonstration in Lahti drew worldwide attention to Finland after a man was photographed wearing the white outfit of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. The prosecutor says the case does not meet the requirements for filing criminal charges, which could have included fraudulent misrepresentation and public incitement to crime.

Joitain kymmeniä ihmisiä osoitti mieltään turvapaikanhakijoiden tuloa vastaan Hennalan ex-varuskunnan portilla Lahdessa 24. syyskuuta 2015.
This photo of a Lahti man wearing KKK-like robes went viral last autumn. Image: Heikki Ahonen / Yle

No criminal charges will be filed against the man who dressed up as a Klansman and toted the Finnish flag during an anti-immigration demonstration at the Hennala reception centre in Lahti last autumn.

One 19-year-old man was suspected of fraudulent misrepresentation, desecrating the Finnish flag and public incitement to a criminal offense.

The prosecutor says that no evidence could be found that the man had deliberately carried out a crime; his behaviour allegedly constituted free expression of opinion and freedom of speech.

The same case also involved a 45-year-old Yle reporter, charges against whom were also dropped. The journalist was on hand at the demonstration taking photographs, and was suspected of urging the Lahti man to hold and display the large Finnish flag seen in the now-infamous photograph. No indication of such instigation or of any illicit use of the national flag was found.

The anti-immigration demonstration took place in front of the Hennala reception centre in Lahti on September 24, 2015.

The man who donned the Ku Klux Klan-esque robes and hat called his behaviour a "stupid momentary stunt" in police questioning. The man said he had attended the demonstration at a friend's suggestion and bought the clothing supplies on the very night of the protest.

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