Monday, September 11, 2006
SMASH ASEM: Riot in Helsinki, or was it really?
Time for some politics again.
On Saturday afternoon, September 9th, Finnish police force closed down several Leftist & Anarchist groups’ legal SMASH ASEM demonstration against the ASEM 2006 summit in the center of Helsinki.
Helsingin sanomat writes:
The "Smash Asem" demonstration began peacefully at around 6 p.m., but was unable to move on from the gathering point in the square in front of Kiasma by the arrival of around 200 riot police equipped with shields, helmets, and truncheons.
Not merely the 300 or so demonstrators were hemmed in, but also passers-by on their way home, journalists and cameramen, and people who had turned up out of curiosity to see what was happening, and whether the demonstrators would make good on their website pledge to "bring at least a bit of disorder to the streets of Helsinki".
There were a further several hundred police officers behind the inner ring, as well as five Helsinki City Transport buses arranged as a wall.
In all 136 people including two members of Helsinki City Council were arrested and kept in custody over night for questioning. Five people, none of which were police officers, were injured.
The police prohibited people from using their constitutional right of demonstrating in a public space, right to gather and the right to free speech. During the demonstration some police officers also apparently threatened Mr. Ilkka Tapale, a social-democrat member of parliament by telling him that they could arrest him too (note: according to the Finnish law they cannot do this). Police and Finnish BOrder & Customs officers were filming the demonstrators and and passers-by for their own records. Names and IDs of both demonstrators and people watching the incidents were recorded before they were allowed to leave the place. Police officers hid their name and ID badges.
Finland is a democratic society that prides itself as an example of a democracy, egalitarianism, all encopassing welfare state, transparency of administration and so on and so on.
As J-Dilla (RIP) and NWA said it “Fuck The Police”.