Opposition accuses minister of “flirting with anarchy” over police probe

Finns Party MP Tom Packalén made the comments about Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo after a controversial weekend protest.

File picture of Finns Party Tom Packalén campaigning at 2019 general election / Credit: Tom Packalén Facebook

Opposition MP Tom Packalén (Finns) has written an open letter to Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) accusing her of “flirting with anarchy” after a weekend protest in Helsinki.

The minister has asked police for an explanation of the circumstances of why they used force on Saturday at a pro-Kurdish, anti-Turkey march and rally.

During the event one person was zapped with a taser, while officers smashed a car window to gain access and stop it leading the march.

Helsinki Police say there was extra security measures in place, including mounted police on horseback, because a previous demonstration had resulted in vandalism to the Turkish embassy, and because they had reason to believe the marchers would not stick to the approved, agreed route.

In a statement, Helsinki Police say protest organisers tried to put a car with loudspeakers at the front of their march against police instructions. Protesters who tried to block police were tased.

Two-term Finns Party MP Tom Packalén, himself a former senior Helsinki Police officer, writes in his party’s online newspaper that while protesters have a right to protest, it is the job of the police to ensure public safety and order.

And he criticised Maria Ohisalo for tweeting that she would ask for a full report from Helsinki Police about what happened on Saturday.

“In my opinion, such a populist tweet is unworthy of the Interior Minister. It gives the impression of flirting with anarchy” writes Packalén.

Police at a pro-Kurdish / anti-Turkey rally in Helsinki, 20th October 2019 / Credit: Jiri Sironen Twitter