August 1, 2015 / 8:51 PM / 4 years ago

Finland must watch far-right closely after violent rally: minister

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland must boost its monitoring of extremist movements, its interior minister said after a demonstration by the far right turned violent.

Police said earlier on Saturday they had detained 32 people at a far-right demonstration in Jyvaskyla, central Finland.

They said some demonstrators assaulted three bystanders and caused a disturbance in a department store.

“This is a sign that extremist movements are also rising in Finland. It is clear that we must enhance and increase the monitoring of these organizations,” Interior Minister Petteri Orpo told Helsingin Sanomat daily’s online edition.

The rally was organized by Finland’s Resistance Movement, a far-right movement the country’s security intelligence service says aims to create a national socialist state.

The incident came days after 15,000 people gathered in Helsinki to protest against hate speech, prompted by a Facebook post by Olli Immonen, a lawmaker from the euro-sceptic Finns Party, calling for a fight against multiculturalism.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini, leader of the Finns party, said Immonen’s comments were harmful to the party. It entered government after coming second in April’s general election on a platform of demanding a tougher line on euro zone bailouts and immigration.

Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Jon Boyle

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