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Paper: Passerby suspected of assaulting former PM Sipilä

A criminal report has been filed with police over the incident.

Juha Sipilä
Juha Sipilä served as Prime Minister of Finland from 2015 to 2019. Image: Pekka Tynell / Yle

Reports have emerged that former Prime Minister and current MP Juha Sipilä (Cen) was assaulted in front of Parliament House in Helsinki last week.

According to the tabloid Iltalehti, a person approached and then pushed former Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Cen) while he was walking over a pedestrian crossing in front of Parliament. Since the emergence of the first reports of the incident, Sipilä has said that he was punched by the alleged assailant.

A criminal report about the incident, which reportedly took place on the afternoon of Thursday 7 January, has been filed with police.

Detective Inspector Reijo Enqvist confirmed to Yle that Helsinki police are investigating the incident as a suspected assault, but he did not comment on whether the suspect was known to police.

"Animal reaction"

"I interpret the event as involving some kind of animal reaction," Parliamentary Security Director Jukka Savola told IL. "[The person] was walking over the crossing, then pushed and started to shout at the other."

Savola added that such incidents are not common or acceptable.

"Really rare, more than rare. Yes, MPs receive feedback in one form and another, but there is no need to push," he added.

The tabloid also reported that Sipilä received minor bruising in the incident, but in a separate interview Savola told Helsingin Sanomat that was not the case.

"That is completely incorrect information. There was no bruising," Savola told HS.

Politicans condemn incident

Writing on Twitter, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said she considers the incident "serious and reprehensible".

"An act of violence against a Member of Parliament is an insult not only to the individual but also to Parliament as a whole," the PM wrote.

Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) also reacted to the incident on Twitter, stressing the importance of the physical integrity of parliamentarians.

"An MP was subjected to violent behaviour," Vehviläinen wrote. "This act must be condemned. The physical integrity of representatives is an important part of a credible democracy. We Finns can never accept that our representatives are subjected to violence."

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