Eight arrests as protesters climb Parliament columns

Several hundred people gathered outside the building and watched while climbers shimmied up the columns and unfurled a banner.

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Police have arrested eight people after protesters climbed the columns in front of Parliament in Helsinki.

An estimated 250 people marched from the Central Railway Station to Parliament this morning, to demand more urgent action to combat the effects of climate change.

When they arrived at Parliament building, climbers using ropes scaled the columns, and unfurled a banner from the top that read ‘climate action now’.

“This demonstration is needed, because we need climate action now” says MP Touko Aalto (Green).

“My first impression about this whole demonstration is that we need this kind of voice. We need more voice, we need louder voice”.

However Aalto, who was the chair of the Greens until the end of last year, sounded a note of caution about climbing up onto the Parliament building itself.

“We should leave the Parliament status alone. This will create more problems because maybe there is tomorrow the next demonstration for some other cause, so if this is allowed, what happens next?” he tells News Now Finland.

There was a heavy police presence at the protest, including officers on the ground and on the roof of Parliament itself.

Chief Inspector Jari Mäkiniemi from Helsinki Police says the climbers are committing a crime.

“That is a crime because they climbed in a public building, it’s not allowed. So that’s the crime what they are doing now. This demonstration is okay, but what they’re doing is not okay” he says.

Inside Parliament, MP Timo Heinonen (NCP) tweeted his concern about security, saying that it must be strengthened, since the police can’t even manage to get the climbers down from the building.

Greenpeace Suomi tweeted in reply to Heinonen that this was “a peaceful and non-violent” event.