Finland: Asylum seeker quarters vandalised with swastikas, "white power" graffiti

Asylum seekers preparing to take up accommodation at a reception centre in Kouvola were confronted with swastikas and text declaring "white power" on the doors of the converted apartment block. Property owners say they are considering filing a criminal complaint.

5/10/2015- Last week refugees looking to move into emergency accommodation in an apartment block in Kuusankoski, Kouvola found that the building had been vandalised. The new occupants discovered that someone had spray-painted swastikas and words such as "white power" throughout the property. "The walls of buildings near the apartment building had been spray-painted with swastikas and different phrases, like 'white power'," said reception centre director Satu Kurri. Apart from nearby properties the graffiti had been sprayed on the doors and windows of apartments in the building converted into emergency housing for refugees. Kurri said that the graffiti on the neighbouring buildings had appeared some time ago, before the establishment of asylum seeker accommodation.

Men unfazed, women and children scared
The facility director said that officials had spoken with the refugees following the discovery, much in the same way that occupants at another Kouvola reception centre had received counseling following a recent fire bomb attack. "We have told them that some Finns want to express their opinions in this way and stressed that not all Finns are like this," she explained. The asylum seekers have had mixed reactions to the graffiti, Kurri noted. "It doesn’t feel good to them. The men haven’t been fazed, since they’ve been in conflict situations and experienced so much already. Naturally the women and children have been scared," she added.

Building owner considering criminal report
Officials have not yet covered the graffiti, and the owners of the property, Kouvola Apartments, are considering filing a criminal report. "Some of the phrases have been such that a criminal report should be lodged," Kurri remarked. The area around the building is currently being patrolled by guards. Kurri said that people who oppose asylum seekers entering Finland should find other ways to express themselves. "it’s quite insane that they are blaming these people for how their tax money is being spent. In my opinion it’s an abuse of taxpayers' money to be forced to hire guards when this kind of thing happens," she concluded.
YLE News.

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