Europe

Finns Party pol: “Nothing wrong” with Nazi clock

A local Finns Party politician in the west-coast town of Vaasa acknowledges that he donated a clock with Nazi insignia on it to a local right-wing extremist group.

City councillor Risto Helin says he gave a clock bearing a swastika and a portrait of Adolf Hitler to a local anti-immigrant club, but that he sees nothing wrong with it.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," Helin told Yle's Swedish-language news on Thursday. "I'm not racist and not a Nazi."

The clock and other Nazi memorabilia at the clubhouse in central Vaasa are portrayed in a photo reportage published by the Helsinki-based cultural magazine Image on Thursday, entitled "White Vaasa".

Helin also denies that his position as a member of the city council has anything to do with the case.

"I'm a regular person who can do whatever I want," he insisted. "It wouldn't make any difference if I'd given someone a clock with a picture of Stalin or Mao on it."

Finns colleague “shocked”

Maria Tolppanen, a Finns Party MP who is also on the Vaasa city council, said she was "shocked and disturbed."

Tolppanen, who had not heard of the incident, told Yle: "This is not a regular thing to do. I’ll raise the issue with the local party organisation. I should also take the matter up in Helsinki."

The largest opposition party in the Finnish Parliament has recently come under fire for its close links to the anti-immigrant group Suomen Sisu.

The Vaasa group, which simply calls itself "Kerho" ("The Club"), has a meeting space near Vaasa's railway station. The town has a population of some 66,000, about a quarter of them Swedish-speaking.

According to the Image article, the club members refer to themselves as patriots, racists and Nazis. Three years ago, some of them took part in a fight with young men of immigrant descent involving some 50 people. Last May, three men were fined as a result, two of them of Somali descent.

Nazi T-shirt in election ads

Yet another Finns Party politician is under fire for ties to an extremist group.

Dan Koivulaakso, co-author of a book on the far right in Finland, told Yle that Helin is a well-known neo-Nazi.

"I see this as yet another case where a member of the Finns Party is flirting with or has interactions with an extreme right-wing group," says Koivulaakso.

Two months ago, Koivulaakso took part in a discussion on the extreme right at Jyväskylä's main library that was disrupted by a stabbing.

He notes that Helin posed in his municipal election campaign ads wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the neo-Nazi organisation Blood & Honour, which is banned in several countries.

In September, Helin told the newspaper Turun Sanomat that he had bought the T-shirt at a flea market and did not know what it meant. The picture still appears on his Facebook page.

Sources: Yle, Image, Turun Sanomat
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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