Demonstrations | Helsinki police removed the flags of Kurdish organizations during the Independence Day demonstration, in Oulu flags were allowed to be displayed

At the Independence Day demonstration in Helsinki, in addition to the flags of the Kurdish organization PKK, the flags of KCK, YPG, YPJ and PYD were also removed.

Helsinki the police ordered to remove not only the flags of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK but also the flags of other Kurdish organizations at the Independence Day demonstration.

The Chief Commissioner confirms the matter to HS Heikki Porola from the Helsinki police.

In the bulletin sent out on the evening of Independence Day, the police mentioned only the PKK by name.

However, the Kurdish Democratic Community Center NCDK said on the messaging service Twitter that the police also banned the KCK, YPJ, YPG and PYD flags at the demonstration. These are also Kurdish organizations.

“These tickets were also part of it [poistoon] as flags belonging to the PKK,” says Porola.

The European Union defined the PKK as a terrorist organization in 2002. The KCK is the Federation of Kurdistan Communities. YPJ and YPG are Syrian Kurdish fighting organizations and PYD is the political branch of the latter.

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Turkey has designated other Kurdish organizations as terrorist organizations and, among other things, has demanded the return of Kurds from Finland and Sweden to Turkey.

Discussion The removal of the flags that sparked the incident took place at the Helsinki without Nazis demonstration. According to the Helsinki police, the removal of the tickets was the result of a negotiation.

“During the negotiation, it was said that it is not appropriate to start with the tickets,” says Porola.

In place, flags could have been waved. Protesters left their tickets in their vehicles before leaving for the march.

According to the police, the flags were left out of the procession to maintain public order and safety. According to the police, some groups could have found the flags provocative.

“Thousands of people were on the move at various demonstrations. There was confrontation and threats.”

Porola is not aware of similar previous removals of Kurdish flags at demonstrations in Helsinki.

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“These are case-by-case decisions, not guidelines.”

In Oulu the flag of the Kurdish organization was also allowed to be displayed at the demonstration organized on Independence Day.

“The flag was not provoked or waved, but the flag was treated in a matter-of-fact way,” says the chief commissioner Arto Autio From the Oulu police.

There was also no doubt about the threat of disruption.

The police had advance knowledge of the small-scale anti-fascist demonstration. The phrase also remained small. At most there were about 50 participants.

“It was known in advance that Kurds would also participate in the demonstration. Of course, the police made an overall assessment in advance, and based on that there was no reason to fear a breach of public order and security or a confrontation.”

An assessment was also made during the evening. The expression remained well under the control of the organizer. The atmosphere was very peaceful, the demonstrators behaved very matter-of-factly, and the police therefore had no need to intervene in the demonstration, Autio describes.

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“We have to remember that the operating environment and the prevailing situation as a whole determine the means of guaranteeing public safety.”

Two torchlight processions were organized in the center of Oulu on Independence Day: the students’ torchlight procession and the Suomen kansa ensin ry procession. These did not intersect with the demonstration.

“We didn’t have a confrontational situation like in Helsinki.”

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