Thursday 16.07.2020
MIDSUMMER NIGHT

Police say Hietaniemi riots caused by whim of intoxicated youth

Police says the events do not seem to be related to the Black Lives Matter movement. The five minors arrested were released on Saturday.
File photo of police vehicles. Photo: Police.
File photo of police vehicles. Photo: Police.

The police have released additional information about the riots on Midsummer night at Hietaniemi Beach, in Helsinki.

After a preliminary investigation, and in light of the interrogations conducted on Saturday, police says the incidents would appear to be caused by "the whim of intoxicated young people."

In this sense, the events, which consisted mainly of throwing stones and fireworks at the police patrols, did not seem to have been planned. Police also says they do not seem to be related to the Black Lives Matter movement. However, some eyewitnesses said that some Black Lives Matter-inspired cries were shouted on the spot.

"The majority of the young people at the scene did not take part in the actions against the police, but followed the events from the sidelines, as can be seen in the recordings made on social media," says the chief investigator Kirsi Kanth in a press release.

According to her account, the bad example set by a few young people was followed by others, who found it amusing to oppose the police. "It seems that intoxicants have played a part in the events," Kanth emphasized.

During the incidents, two police officers suffered minor injuries caused by the fireworks.

At least six police cars and three bystanders' cars suffered damage such as broken windows and dents.

Assault and damages

Five young boys were arrested at the scene, all under 18 years of age. They were interrogated and released during Saturday. Only three of them are suspected of crimes such as assault, damages and violent resistance to authority.

One of those suspects admitted he had taken the fireworks with him and at the time of the incidents he had fired a few at the police. However, he denied that his actions caused any damage. He also said he deeply regretted his actions.

The preliminary investigation will continue with the damage assessment, police says.

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