The Finnish Police investigates a video published last week in social media by the far-right group ‘Soldiers of Odin’ that announces a “hunt” of rapists and paedophiles.
The video, which is subtitled in English and in Arabic, shows a group of people dressed in dark, with hoods, wearing masks and armed with baseball bats. One of them, who acts as a spokesperson, announces that “The pedophile hunting season has been opened!” (sic)
The speaker points out that their target are the "sex tourists who have invaded our country” and “hunt our children”. And explains that the Soldiers of Odin are going to take justice into their own hands, since “the authorities and the politicians do nothing”.
This video is a turn of the screw in the hate campaign against foreigners launched on social media by some groups and individuals for the last weeks. The trigger was the cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated in Oulu by a group of foreigners, who have been arrested by the police.
This crime has shocked the population of Finland, including foreign communities or citizens with foreign origin. However, some extreme right groups are trying to take advantage of the shock to spread their anti-immigration discourse.
After knowing the video’s existence, the National Police Board has asked the Helsinki Police Department to assess whether a crime should be suspected and to determine which preventive and other measures should be taken in response to its publication.
A fake profile
On a press release, Finnish police said that “reports have been submitted to the police in regard to the video ‘Raiskaajien ja pedofiilien metsästys on alkanut’ (‘The hunt for rapists and paedophiles is on’), posted online recently. The video, which includes behaviour pointing towards violence, hints at a fake profile created for the so-called hunt”.
The National Police Board wants to remind everyone that “suspected crimes cannot be systematically responded to with serious offences”. “Responding to sexual crimes with crimes of violence does not help in the protection of human life and health or contribute to public safety”, explains the note.
‘The police takes threats of violence seriously and works to prevent violent deeds in advance. Threats of violence are condemnable, both when vigilante patrols behave threateningly and when threats are delivered online’, says Pekka Heikkinen, Chief Superintendent with the National Police Board.