Finland gathers in support of man killed by far-right football fan21 September 2016

Activists,humanrightsgroupsandindividualsinFinlandwillgatheronSaturday24SeptemberinKansalaistoriinHelsinki,insupportofJimiJoonasKarttunen,a28year-oldman,killedbyafoundingmemberofafar-rightfootballfangroup.

The incident happened on Saturday 10 September when members of the far-right organisation Finnish Resistance Movement were distributing propaganda leaflets in front of Helsinki’s railway station.

Karttunen, a passer-by, denied one of the leaflets and spat on the floor as an act of protest, moments after he was assaulted by a leading figure of the Finnish HIFK fan group Stadin Kingit who was campaigning for the far-right Finnish Resistance Movement, Jesse Eppu Torniainen.

Karttunen died of his injuries on Friday 16 September in a hospital in the Finnish capital; but the incident caused outraged amongst human rights activists in Finland and prompted condemnation and action.

Saturday’s initiative in memory of Karttunen is supported by the Fare member Liikkukka – Sports for All alongside the Finnish Athletes Union aims to take a stand against violence, intolerance and discrimination.

Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the demonstration that will see the participants’ blow whistles in protest.

“We would like to call on players to send short video with messages supporting the event, saying ‘Peli poikki’ (in English ‘Whistle of this game!’), the message behind the initiative, and blowing a whistle” said Liikkukka.

On the day, former Fare Board member and Liikkukka representative Ike Chime will make a speech raising awareness of a growing rhetoric of intolerance perpetrated by far-right groups in Finland.

‘We have warned about this for more than 20 years’
In an interview to Finnish media, Liikkukaa – Sports For All representatives highlighted that the organisation had warned Finnish authorities about the eminence of incidents as Karttunen’s killing.

Earlier this year, Liikkukka reported far-right fan group to the head of security of the Finnish Football Federation after incidents of violence at matches and following the display of far-right symbols during a march in May 2016.

Following the incident, the Cameroonian–born American player and member of Finnish International Athletes Union, Tabe Etchu, said: “This is alarming! It could have been one of us, almost everyone would have rejected that leaflet.”

Videos and support messages can be sent to pelipoikki2016@gmail.com or posted on the initiative’s Facebook page.

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