Received March 18th:
On 15th of March the Pyhäjoki anti-nuclear protest camp participated the International Day Against Police Brutality with a banner drop and by serving two private Fennovoima-Rosatom security guards and a police officer with cream pies. The little goodwill demonstration encouraged the public to remember the dangers environmental and human rights activists face in different societies – for example in Russia.
The protest camp chose the tactic that would fit the Finnish mental landscape. Cream pieing world leaders, military commanders and other high profile figures is a humorous tactic to put serious topics into the public eye. Before the Pyhäjoki cream pie fiesta, the last person who got pied in Finland was the World Bank Secretary James D. Wolfensohn in 2001. Naturally, the cream pie fiesta was not aimed to any particular police officer, but targeted to the police institution’s global role in growing inequality and political persecution of dissidents. Police forces are the first ones to get thrown into the line of fire when societal inequality grows: as they are the ones sent to execute the political decisions that cause that inequality to grow.
At 10.30 AM the protest camp people visited Fennovoima-Rosatom and Titan-2, the Russian firm being the main constructor of the planned nuclear power plant site. In the centre of Pyhäjoki the activists climbed to the roof of Titan-2’s office and dropped their banners. Soon one of the Titan-2’s workers tried to seize his momentum by trying to pull the banner down from an opened window. Finding his attempt unsuccessful, the office staff withdrew, closing the shutters and hiding themselves form the cameras. This seems to be a common thinking pattern in Titan-2, that has a reputation of corruption, mob connections and failing to get salaries delivered to their subcontractors: close our eyes, do not answer the phones – if one cannot see the problem, the problem does not exist.
Singing and dancing
After the rooftop banner party the activists moved on to the Fennovoima-Rosatom’s office and held a jolly Hiroshima -themed group singing workshop for the entire office staff. It turned out to be more difficult to close a bunch of singing person’s by shutting the curtains.
Unsurprisingly enough, Fennovoima-Rosatom had different ideas of the jolliness of the singing workshop. As the closed curtains weren’t enough, office staff alerted the private security and the police. Being the first to arrive, the two security guards soon got a drift of Fennovoima-Rosatom’s transparency ideals. While singing group still held their banner high, one activist decided to leave the office voluntarily. Security guards singled him the lone activist out and regardless the fact that the person was willing to leave by themself, the guards decided to grab them and put the person in handcuffs.
However, the professionalism of these to private play cops did not convince the followers. Not only failing with the handcuffing, the two guards also managed to trip and fell themselves and their captive through the outer glass wall of the office. After a moment of rolling in the shattered glass, the guards managed to find their way out and drag the detained activist with them.
After this display of professionalism guards continued their attempt to handcuff the detained person lying on the ground. During the process both of the guards were greeted with a cream pie right into the face. Soon the two-officer strong police patrol arrived and proceeded to move the detained activist to the police car. During the process a third cream pie found its way to the face of the second police officer. All Cakes Are Beautiful, right?
The cream pie fiesta aimed to bring attention to the role of the police institution in increasing inequality and being a tool of political persecution. The police, of course, ends up in the frontline of societal tensions while fulfilling the unfair decisions for the state.
In Finland, for example the case of the neo nazi street patrols ”Soldiers of Odin” and the clown group, ”Loldiers of Odin” forms one example. While police secures the neo nazi group’s right to patrol and hold openly nationalistic and racist marches to ”protect the Finnish women from the immigrants”, the same police clads itself into riot gear and detainees the group of group of literal clowns singing, dancing and clowning against racism – especially, if the clowns go dancing against racism on the same streets with the neo nazis.
In Finland the general situation is not, of course, directly comparable to the experiences and everyday life of activists and dissidents in Russia or Latin america. However, the Pyhäjoki protest camp has had its share of risky or dangerous situations caused by the sort tempers and misjudgements of the local police. The police doing stupid shit to get activists off their lock on’s has resulted in various dangerous situations – for both parties. Detaching a person locked to the roof of a truck from their neck is a job for a specially trained team in Britain. In Finland a standard street cop and an angle grinder is enough.
Note from Contra Info: Since March 15th 1997, annual demonstrations in the streets of Montreal have taken place to highlight the International Day Against Police Brutality, which has already spread from Canada and Switzerland to numerous other countries.