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Thursday's papers: Statue locations, Finns Party women, weather warnings

Finland’s press reports on a number of brewing storms - both figurative and literal.

Marsalkka Mannerheimin ratsastajapatsas.
The equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim is currently located beside the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Helsinki. Image: Esko Jämsä / AOP

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on a proposal to change the location of a number of iconic Finnish statues, including one of the military leader and former president of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim in the centre of Helsinki.

IL writes that the youth wing of the Left Alliance party have proposed creating a 'statue park' on an island off the coast of the capital, which could become a Nordic "cultural destination".

"We suggest Suomenlinna Island as a place for the new statue park," Left Alliance youth chair Liban Sheikh told the tabloid. "It is time to move the worship of atrocities and great men away from the streets. Remembering our past does not require glorifying the ills of history."

IL adds that a statement released by the youth branch of the party also suggested placing signs next to statues that "tell the full history of the people and events associated with the statues - including the questionable aspects associated with them".

Demonstrations by the anti-racism Black Lives Matter human rights movement around the world have led to statues of slave traders, colonialists and warlords being removed, often forcefully, from city streets, the tabloid writes.

"It is a good time for Finland to consider whether our history should be remembered with monuments in the middle of cities glorifying war and oppression. For example, the equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim, the Tampere Statue of Liberty and the monuments to racial hygienists like Lauri "Tahko" Pihkala should be removed from the streets," IL quotes the statement as saying.

"Where are the women? At home"

Helsingin Sanomat reports on a photo which has been been generating both "amusement and amazement" across social media channels in Finland over the past week.

HS writes that the photo shows two men - but no women - standing under a tarpaulin for the women’s branch of the Finns Party, which was originally posted to the discussion forum website Reddit on Monday with a caption enquiring "where are the women? At home".

The photo has since received thousands of reactions and comments, including one which suggested that "maybe they are reading Hankamäki's research", referring to the publication of a controversial book last week by Jukka Hankamäki called Totuus kiihottaa (The truth provokes in English).

The position of women within the Finns Party has been the subject of much debate over the last week, HS writes, as one chapter of the book was dedicated to the "tyranny of women", and in another Hankamäki suggests that some Finnish women who have been rejected by Finnish men "wanted revenge on Finnish society by mating with a foreigner".

HS spoke to MP and chair of the women’s branch of the party Ritva 'Kike' Elomaa, who told the paper she had no idea where the photo originated from and that it was probably years old.

"Finns Party women were definitely involved [at the event], because otherwise that tent would not be there," Elomaa said "I do not understand what is so wonderful about this picture? The women may be outside the picture chatting, or one of them may have even taken it."

Storm before the calm

As Finland looks forward to the Midsummer weekend, many papers continue the traditional close watch of the changing weather, with tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reporting that Thursday will be the "most eventful day of weather" so far this year.

A thunderstorm, which is expected to hit parts of south and central Finland on Thursday, may cause trees to fall, urban flooding, forest fires, interruptions in telecommunications and long power outages, the tabloid writes.

"There is considerable potential for very widespread damage," IS quotes meteorologist Markus Mäntykannas as writing on the weather service Foreca’s blog.

However, once the storm passes, temperatures are expected to climb as high as 30 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, according to Iltalehti’s latest of many articles on the subject, which is on average about six degrees higher than the usual temperature at this time of year.

"We will have better holiday weather here than in southern Europe," Foreca meteorologist Jenna Salminen told IL.

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