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Police brace for far right gathering in Turku

A white nationalist conference is scheduled to take place at an unspecified location in Turku over the weekend.

Miekkalogo poliisiauton kyljessä.
Police say they are prepared for any possible election harassment in Turku. Image: Petri Lassheikki / Yle

Police in the Turku region in southwest Finland say they are bracing for the presence of right-wing extremists over the weekend.

Sources online indicate that an international white nationalist conference called Awakening II is being held somewhere in the region either on Saturday or overnight from Saturday to Sunday. No exact location has been publicly specified. The first openly fascist Awakening event was held in April 2018.

The aim of the event is said to be to provide an opportunity for Finnish and other European nationalists groups and individuals to network.

Police say they are prepared to safeguard voter rights against possible harassment during advance voting for the parliamentary elections, which continues through to 9 April. Election day proper is 14 April nationwide.

Police tight-lipped about event, preps

Chief inspector Mika Peltola from the South-West Finland police had little to say on the details of the gathering, the possibility of right-wing agitation, or the number of officers to be mobilised.

"Police are aware that this event is being organised. We have used this information and are prepared for the weekend," Peltola said.

Peltola said that no reports of harassment have surfaced since advance voting began on Wednesday.

"Police will monitor voting locations to make sure people can freely cast their votes. We are adequately prepared."

The neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (PVL) most recently staged a march in downtown Turku on 16 March. The Supreme Court placed a temporary ban on the activities of the neo-Nazi organisation in late March, after a Pirkanmaa district court previously ruled that it should be proscribed.

It also granted the group the right to appeal lower court ruling and said it will issue a final judgment later on permanently outlawing the group.

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