District court rules to close down Finnish section of the Nordic Resistance Movement

Association

On 30th November 2017, Pirkanmaa District Court annulled the activities of the Finnish section of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), stating that it has used violence and encouraged hate speech among its supporters. Moreover, the Court ruled that the association's activities were not within the scope of protection under the right to freedom of association, as the NRM violates other fundamental human rights. The Court's decision also abolished the Northern Tradition Association which is affiliated with NRM. 

In response to the move to shut down the associations, Chief of Polic Seppo Kolehmainen stated that:

"The activities of violent and open racist organizations should not be given a place in Finnish society". (Translated from Finnish)

Also, according to the Finnish National Police, the material distributed by NRM has "contentious, misleading and blatant content, as well as criminal stamping, and subversive material..." (Translated from Finnish)

Auli Starck from the Finnish NGO platform Kepa shared her opinion on the Court's decision, stating that:

"In Finland many people are getting frustrated over the misuse of civic freedoms to promote hate speech and by racist movements. The freedoms of assembly, association and expression come with certain responsibilities. They cannot be used to discriminate against other people and violate civic rights and freedoms. This court decision has been greeted with enthusiasm among many Finnish CSOs and activists".

Peaceful Assembly

On 21st October 2017, around 300 people took part in the ultra-nationalist protest by the Nordic Resistance Movement in Tampere. Approximately 400 counter protesters were also present. Though the protesters gathered at two different locations in the city, they eventually clashed in downtown Tampere. Police intervened in the clashes and four people were detained.

Expression

During the Finnish municipal election campaign in March 2017, Chairperson Jussi Halla-aho and Deputy Chairperson Laura Huhtasaari of the Finns Party allegedly used racist messaging and attempted to widen social divisions, especially between Finns and immigrant communities. As a result, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman in Finland stated that the Finns Party and the Christian Democrats were both notified of suspected hate speech made by their candidates during the municipal election campaigns.