A 19-year-old male teenager wore a Ku Klux Klan-style outfit while holding his homeland Finnish flag and chanting into his megaphone at an anti-immigration demonstration. The young man was in the city of Lahiti, Finland when he was caught on camera by the local public television station on Sept. 29, 2015. The teenage protestor was arrested and questioned by police. The Prime Minister indignantly declared that the young man will be charged with “desecration of the Finnish flag.”
The image of the young man in the Ku Klux Klan-style robe and hood enraged the country as it was quickly and widely spread across the internet. The Ilta-Sanomat newspaper reported the outfit was assembled by the young man with supplies he purchased at a local store. The white robe was a sheet and the hood was shaped out of cardboard. He admitted to police the outfit was an impetuous and impulsive idea. However, he posted a picture of himself on Twitter in the make-shift Ku Klux Klan robe and addressed it to his “foreign followers.”
Detective Chief Inspector Martti Hirvonen, from the Hame Police Department, reported the young man’s rhetoric was being investigated. The 19-year-old will be charged with “inciting an offense,” if he said anything which could be construed as racist or encouraged others to commit crimes toward any ethnic group. If charged, he will receive up to two years in prison.
Only 40 people were involved with the protest directly. Nonetheless, the protest caught widespread attention and condemnation. Protestors were throwing fireworks and rocks at a bus carrying many people who were seeking asylum. Two people were also throwing rocks at the Red Cross Volunteers.
The Finnish government quickly condemned the protest, calling it racist. The protest was against building a new center for those seeking asylum. There has been an overwhelming number of Iraqis seeking protection from their native land. Shelters have already been opened for the migrants.
Several countries are expected to take in the more than 50,000 migrants seeking asylum from war-torn countries, such as Iraq and Somalia. Juha Sipilä, Finland’s prime minister, expressed his extreme disgust as, he opened up his own home to migrants.
There are many who assume that the Ku Klux Klan has been a part of America’s dark past for some time, even though recent history has proven racism is not dead. Events such as the murder of Trayvon Martin, the church shooting by Dylann Roof, and the multiple deaths of young dark-skinned men at the hands of white police officers point towards a racialist mentality. These actions have had a worldwide impact that has been both positive and negative.
Most of the involved police officers in those shootings have been punished accordingly. Discussions about racism toward other ethnicities have been more open in today’s society. The Black Lives Matter campaign has brought white and black people together. These are all a far cry from the “Watts Riots” of 1965, but there is still a strong hatred toward members of any dark-skinned population.
This hatred has spawned a revival for the Ku Klux Klan, creating a constant influx of new recruits. Earlier in 2015, Dan Murdoch, filmmaker, went undercover and joined a chapter in North Carolina called, Loyal White Knights (LWK). Murdoch reported this Klan boasts the largest chapter with “boots in every state.” The LWK has a hotline for people who are interested in joining. Based on the call logs, Murdoch said the Klan is receiving “tens of thousands of calls a month.” It was admitted, however, that many of those calls are abusive but still there are those who are serious about signing up.
The Imperial Kommander, Amanda Lee, condemned the actions of Dylann Roof, but stated if he had massacred drug dealers on the street corners who were black, she would not have any problems. It was the removal of the Confederate flag that upset the Ku Klux Klan.
The significance of the Finnish teen who chose to wear the Ku Klux Klan outfit may have been an outcry to gain worldwide attention. It could possibly have been the only way he knew to express his anger. Regardless, the 19-year-old has brought shame to his Prime Minister, his country, and is facing serious charges for his behavior at an anti-immigration demonstration.
By Jeanette Smith
Telegraph UK: Finnish Teen Who Wore Ku Klux Klan-Style Outfit to an Anti-Immigration Demo May Face Charges
NY Times: Finnish Protestor Who Wore Ku Klux Klan-Style Robe Is Arrested
The DeBrief: Meet the Man Who Went Inside the Ku Klux Klan
Top Image Courtesy of t.ap.’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License