There has been a major police operation on the beach of Hietaniemi in Helsinki after two o’clock at night. According to the Director-General of the Helsinki Police, the police initially arrived on the scene to appease a “bigger fight”. After that, the crowd turned against the police and the situation escalated into a bigger operation.
According to police estimates, there were several hundred young people on the beach in Hietaniemi, some of whom participated in aggressive behaviour. There were eventually about 30 police patrols present to appease the situation. Police had to use a gas spray (OC) in the situation after warning the people about its use several times.
The situation calmed down at about 3 in the morning. None of the young people involved in the incident was injured in the situation, according to police. A few police officers were slightly injured, and several patrol cars were damaged mainly by stones thrown at them. In addition, private cars parked on-site were damaged in the situation.
The American phenomenon in youth behavior
Inspector Katja Nissinen on the preventive activities of the Helsinki Police Department is pensive about the youth riot that took place on the beach of Hietaniemi in Helsinki on Midsummer night.
The police, who had gone to reassure the youth fight, began to face exceptionally strong resistance. Fireworks were fired at the police and rocks and bottles were thrown at the police, and after all, as many as 30 police patrols were needed to appease the rioting youth.
Police also had to use gas spray, leaving about 20 people exposed to the gas. Police eventually arrested five young people. They are all under 18 years old.
According to Nissinen, if young people oppose the police, these are usually individual cases.
“Usually intoxicated and may have caused a fight or other disruptive behaviour. When the police in that situation arrest the young person, you may not want to lose face and start twisting against it. Or you want to show it to another gang. The situation usually ends and calms down when the young person is taken in a police car,” Nissinen describes.
“It is really rare for a large group to turn against the police and start firing rockets or throwing rocks at the police. Normally, young people do not behave that way,” Nissinen says.
Police have no information that slogans related to the Black Lives Matter phenomenon were shouted during the riot. However, Nissinen says that the phenomenon on display in the USA – strong opposition to the authorities – may be slowly landing in Finland as well.
Nissinen says she knows also other recent cases.
“Some time ago, a policeman took action against a person, and in the situation, completely bystanders gathered around the policeman. A week and a half ago, the police were also in Hietaniemi calming the fight, and the young people came really close to filming and shouting. When young people gather around, it is a challenging situation,” Nissinen says.
Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo has commented on the situation on Twitter.
“Thank you @HelsinkiPoliisi for calming the situation. Violent opposition by an official is reprehensible and particularly worrying when the authorities are injured in the course of their duties. I hope for a speedy recovery for the injured police officers,” the Interior Minister commented.
Public response on the behaviour
A lot of people have condemned the youth behaviour on social media, stating that a lot of the youth at the beach rioting and assaulting police were actually of foreign origin and saying that this phenomenon where people attack the police isn’t normal in Finland and not acceptable in any way.
Finnish people have an utmost respect for the police and for the authorities and a vast majority of Finns trust the Finnish police.
“Green-left brainwashing is starting to show in youth behaviour. Anarchists attacked the police in Hietaniemi, Helsinki. The demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter movement, which led to a riot in the United States, are supported by the Finnish state leadership. Maria Ohisalo (Green), Interior Minister, the one responsible for internal security, has previously shown her support on Twitter. Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has also supported the protesters. The Minister of Education has notoriously supported Antifa with, for example, Antifa’s support stickers that shone from her laptop in the Parliament Hall,” MP Mauri Peltokangas wrote on his personal Facebook profile.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Antifa of aggravating the George Floyd protests in the United States.