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Thursday’s papers: Finns Party's anti-EU protest, plastic kills fish, and scary roadside ads

Finnish MEPs remain seated during EU anthem, plastic pollutes Finnish rivers, and dolls distract motorists near Tampere.

Hakkarainen ja Huhtasaari
Finns Party MEPs Teuvo Hakkarainen and Laura Huhtasaari pictured as they met Finnish journalists at the EU Parliament's press café. Image: Anna Karismo / Yle

Main daily Helsingin Sanomat reports on the decision by Finns Party MEPs Laura Huhtasaari and Teuvo Hakkarainen to remain seated during the playing of Ludwig van Beethoven’s melody Ode to Joy, the EU’s anthem, during the opening session of the new parliament. The custom among parliamentarians is to stand when the song is played.

"This was our way of taking a stand. In our opinion, the anthem is a federal element, and because we are opposed to the federal state, this was our statement," the paper quotes Huhtasaari as saying.

HS also reports that Hakkarainen admits to liking the song, and even listens to it occasionally on the music streaming service Spotify, but the newly-elected MEP from Central Finland told the paper that "I have my own national anthem, and I rise and cry in front of it."

EU leaders adopted Ode to Joy as an official anthem in 1985, and the EU website explains that the purpose of the "European anthem is not intended to replace the national anthems of the EU countries but rather to celebrate the values they share."

"Really sad sight"

Oulu-based newspaper Kaleva carries a report about a fisherman who found a salmon strangled by a piece of plastic in the Tornio river.

The paper quotes Kari Pulkkinen, research head at the Natural Resources Centre, describing the likely journey of the fish from the Baltic Sea to the Tornio River, and becoming entangled in the plastic along the way.

"The fish travelled a long distance to get to the river, but in that condition it would have become exhausted, and eventually died," Pulkkinen told the newspaper.

According to the Finnish Environment Institute, plastic is becoming particularly problematic in Finnish nature, as durable plastic breaks up into smaller pieces and ends up in the diet of birds, fish and other animals.

Dolls distract drivers

Tabloid daily Iltalehti reports on a roadside advertisement that is catching the attention of motorists on the outskirts of the southern city of Tampere.

The paper details how confused drivers cannot tell if the figures that appear to be assembling the roadside billboard are real people or not, until reduced speed and closer inspection reveals the 'workers' to be dolls wearing wigs and overalls.

The tabloid interrupted the holiday of Heikki Ikonen, the Director of the Road Planning Unit of the Pirkanmaa Ely Centre, to ask him for his opinion.

"Sounds strange," Ikonen told the newspaper. "I wonder if that ad has been authorised."

The tabloid also spoke to an elderly man walking his dog in the vicinity of the billboard.

"I think many motorists are paying too much attention to them. They are scary," the unnamed man told Iltalehti.

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