Majority of Finnish parties support banning Nazi symbols

Discussion about banning swastika comes after Finnish court throws out case against men accused of flying Nazi flag during a 2018 parade.

Dan Verbin ,

Finland
Finland
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A majority of Finnish political parties support making the display of Nazi symbols, specifically the swastika, illegal in public, a new survey found.

The survey was conducted by news outlet yle.fi in the wake of a Monday ruling by a court in Helsinki, Finland that dismissed an indictment against five men criminally charged with incitement against an ethnic group for organizing the display of Nazi flags at an Independence Day parade in 2018.

The chair of Finland's Green Party's parliamentary group, told yle.fi that the public display of the swastika should be illegal.

"Legislation must protect against racism and discrimination. If the current legislation does not do so, then it must be rectified," Kari said.

She added that such a ban would raise issues over when possible exceptions to the rule could be made. "It is a different thing to present the [swastika] symbol in a museum than to use it to incite hatred."

The Social Democratic Party's parliamentary group chair Antti Lindtman echoed Kari's statement, but said that his party is waiting for the outcome of the 2018 case. The state prosecutor has said that the outcome will likely be appealed.

"If it turns out that the legislation is deficient in this respect, we are ready to make the necessary changes. In this case, it must be ascertained whether the correct method of regulation is to prohibit one symbol or whether it is appropriate to prohibit the use of other symbols that degrade human dignity in general," Lindtman told yle.fi.

He added: "The genocide of the Jewish people is one of the most horrific crimes and chain of events in human history. That history should not be forgotten or hidden, so its public glorification is highly questionable. It must be possible to restrict the public dissemination and presentation of Nazi ideology."

The National Coalition Party agreed with regard to the swastika, but its chair Kai Mykkänen had "concerns about which symbols would be on the exclusion list" while the Christian Democrat Party said that swastika flags should be prohibited in public.

The Centre Party told the news outlet that they are waiting for a decision by the appellate court. Their chair, Juha Pylväs, added that in principal the party was for restricting the use of the swastika through legislation.

"On a general level, public use of the Nazi flag is reprehensible, and the Centre Party's parliamentary group want to make the necessary legislative changes," said Pylväs.

He stressed that "the flags of the Nazi regime, which committed genocide and other heinous crimes, do not belong on the streets of Finland."



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