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Home NATIONALRefugees centre, buses come under attack
Sat, 26 Sep, 2015 01:36:37 AM
Police ready to respond to violence against asylum seekers, 1 held
FTimes-STT-Xinhua Report, Sep 26


Asylum seekers arrive by bus pass demonstrators late last night into the refugee center located in the former barracks in Hennala in Lahti, Finland on September 24, 2015. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
An asylum reception centre at Kouvola came under attack while agitated people threw fireworks at buses carrying refugees at Lahti late Thursday and early Friday nights.
No casualty, however, was reported in the incidents.
A man has been apprehended for throwing a Molotov cocktail at an emergency shelter used for housing refugees in Kouvola, southeastern Finland, local police said Friday.
The security guards of the shelter were able to extinguish the bottle and no one was injured.
Local police said the attack could have caused serious consequences. The police had not been able to ascertain by Friday noon whether the man had acted alone. 
He was described as a 50-year-old local resident.
Some 40 local residents used firework launchers and threw stones at staff and refugees when a busload of refugees arrived at a newly installed housing center in southern Finland, police said Friday.
     The riot broke out at the Hennala barracks, converted now into a center housing refugees, in Lahti north of Helsinki, late Thursday evening.
     National broadcaster Yle showed pictures of attackers waving Finnish flags and camouflaged in white cloth and caps resembling the appearance of the U.S. Ku-Klux Klan.
     There were no serious injuries, but the staff and arrivals were shocked. The bus had carried many families with children. Police said fines would be given to the perpetrators.
Some of the protesters even wore the white hood and iconic robes of the Ku Klux Klan, a typical racist organization in the United States.
The Ministry of the Interior responded quickly by telling the police to step up their control of the areas surrounding refugee reception centres.
“In the case of the overnight attacks, it is already evident in the public eye that they did not look very systemic or planned. Nevertheless, it is time to react strongly,” the ministry's permanent secretary Päivi Nerg told news agency STT.
“We are raising readiness so that the message is clear: the situation is under strict management and control,” the secretary added.
They also threw stones at the refugees, aid workers and local suppliers. No one was reported injured. According to YLE, two protesters were fined for brawling.
Meanwhile, The Ministry of the Interior at a meeting on Friday reviewed the asylum situation and assessed the attacks on the refugees that took place in Lahti and Kouvola. 
The two incidents are not connected, and only the one in Hennala, Lahti was pre-planned, said an official press release.
The police took control of the Hennala incident quickly, and the investigations are underway. 
The authorities denounce the violence as totally unacceptable, and the police are well prepared to respond to such incidents.
Communication of information between the local police, reception centres and the Tornio registration centre will be further improved to prevent any further attack on the asylum seekers.
All those registered on Friday have been provided with a place at a reception centre.
The backlog of registration at police departments in other parts of Finland has also been cleared.
The Finnish Immigration Service is currently making arrangements to ensure accommodation capacity for the next few days. 
The reception capacity for unaccompanied minors is sufficient. The Immigration Service is constantly looking for new premises for the reception of asylum seekers, and new partners to run reception centres along with municipalities and the Finnish Red Cross.
In a short time, the Tornio registration centre has proved to operate so well that that other European countries have shown an interest in adopting a similar model, said the ministry’s press release. 
Finnish authorities have basically stopped the uncontrolled flow of asylum seekers from Tornio to other parts of the country.
Norway is currently setting up a centre following the Finnish model. Finland will also present the operation of the Tornio centre to the EU Borders Agency (Frontex) and the
Finnish model could serve as an example to the 'Hotspots' to be established in Greece and Italy.
Experts gathered by Frontex will visit the Tornio registration centre within the next few weeks. 
Iraqi asylum seekers in the refugee center located in the former barracks in Hennala in Lahti, Finland on September 25, 2015. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The 'Hotspots', on which agreement has been reached at EU level, would be similar to large registration centres.
The current situation created by the rapidly increased number of asylum seekers is managed by an expert group appointed by Minister of the Interior Petteri Orpo. 
The expert group maintains overall situational awareness of migration and decides action to be taken and leadership assumed in this exceptional situation. 
Besides representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the expert group has a representative each from the Finnish Immigration Service, National Police Board, Border Guard,
Finnish Security Intelligence Service and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is chaired by Päivi Nerg, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior.


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