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Wednesday's papers: Border-hopping protesters, Parliament renovation, gold coin find

The mid-week review of Finland's dailies takes a look at an asylum seekers' protest on the Finnish border, MPs returning to the newly refurbished Parliament building and a whole box of some of the rarest coins in the world found in Espoo.

Ensimmäinen istunto meneillään remontoidussa eduskuntatalossa.
Back in business: the Parliament House is accessible again after more than two years and 200 million euros in renovations. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

A protest in the northern city of Tornio resulted in a group of mostly Iraqi men, women and children boarding a bus bound for the city of Boden – 130 km away in neighbouring Sweden. Helsingin Sanomat has the details of the border-crossing incident.

Of the 55-odd protesters who gathered in Tornio on Tuesday to oppose Finland's immigration policies, some 30 were awaiting an Immigration Service bus that same day in the Swedish border town of Haparanda. HS quotes Swedish police officer Carolina Pedersen, who says she expects there will be rooms and beds enough for the newcomers in Boden.

"They will fill out an asylum application there and the process will begin," she says in the paper.

The EU protocol known as the Dublin Regulation is a thorn in the side of the asylum-seekers now switching countries, many of whom have as many as three negative asylum decisions or overturned complaints under their belts. The regulation stipulates that member states receiving asylum-seekers must return said migrants to the country where their asylum process is still ongoing.

The march into Sweden and the subsequent bus ride were preceded by a demonstration – with slogans such as "Iraq not safe, we are human, we want justice", according to HS – and local interviewee onlookers had a range of reactions to impart.

While some border region inhabitants decried the  protest action and the influx of refugees, two Tornio pensioners posed a tricky question: "One might think that they would have wanted to stay and fight – but fight who, exactly?"

Undocumented Iraqi man Durgam Alssid, 28, says in the HS piece that all he wants to do is study and work, and that he no longer feels he has a future in Finland.

Parliament returns home

Further down south in Helsinki, MPs finally vacated their temporary parliamentary lodgings in the Sibelius Academy and returned to Mannerheimintie 30, the Parliament House proper, on Tuesday.

Regional paper Aamulehti features a photo gallery and a number of comments from MPs and ministers, many of whom attested to being in high spirits.

"The temporary hall was such a dreary place," veteran MP Ben Zyskowicz told AL. "Maybe that's why a lot of the discussions we had there were so dreary, too. Let's hope that there will be many great talks back here in this amazing place."

The Parliament House was under renovation for two and a half years, and the overhaul cost a total of 273 million euros.

Krugerrand jackpot

Finally, tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports on a truly rare find in Espoo. Auction house employees were on a routine assets run over the estate of the deceased resident on Tuesday, when they found a plastic bag with a curiously heavy plastic box inside.

It turns out the box contained a total of 32 gold coins, specifically South-African Krugerrand coins from the 1960s and 70s. The apartheid-era treasures are among the rarest coins known worldwide, and each carries significant value, especially since they are in mint condition, IS writes.

"The coins are priced at around 1,200 euros apiece," reveals director Mika Sirén from the auction house. "That puts the total value of the find at around 32 grand."

Next the coins will be auctioned off as part of the estate as usual. The customer will likely receive at least the scrap value of the gold.

Older readers of Ilta-Sanomat can also get a glimpse into the past, as the plastic coin bag carries the logo of the Maxi department store – whose story ended in 2004 when most Maxis became Prisma emporia.

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