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Police evacuate Kaivopuisto Park over scuffles, fire

Police across the country report that May Day Eve or April 30th was no busier than a regular weekend for law enforcement. Helsinki's Kaivopuisto Park by the sea was emptied of revelers, however, after isolated cases of vandalism and unrest.

Vapun juhlintaa vappuaattona Helsingin keskustassa 30. huhtikuuta 2017.
"Finland's biggest picnic" on May Day. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Police evacuated Kaivopuisto Park in central Helsinki late on May Day Eve due to a small spate of confrontations. Inspector Juha Haapalainen from the Helsinki police says the emptying of the park went smoothly.

"It was surprisingly peaceful and the park was soon clear of people," he says.

The situation began with hundreds of people congregating in the park following the traditional "capping" of the Havis Amanda statue near the Market Square.

"Some small fights broke out and police were there to stop them. In the end the decision was made to clear the park of people in order to avoid escalation," Haapalainen says. "It appears that someone had lit some portable toilets on fire with some kind of rocket."

Haapalainen says that some people were taken into custody as per protocol. He adds that the vappu celebrations were otherwise very calm, on a par with a regular weekend.

The chilly weather may have had a hand in keeping people in check, the inspector says. The situation was similar elsewhere, local police say; Eastern Finland and Oulu reported some drink driving and other disturbances in line with expected end-of-the-week calls.

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