Europe

Finland’s former Prime Minister assaulted outside Parliament

Leading politicians in Finland have expressed outrage after a former prime minister was assaulted on the street outside the country”s Parliament building last week.

Juha Sipilä, who serve as Finnish PM from 2015 to 2019, told national television MTV3 that he had been punched by an unknown assailant in Helsinki on January 7.

The Centre Party politician said that he was “attacked with fists” but did not state whether he was injured.

Helsinki police have confirmed that they were investigating the “suspected beating of an MP near the Parliament House”.

“According to current police information, the MP was crossing the road as the assailant hit him with his fists,” said Juhani Vuorisalo, Director of Investigation from the Helsinki Police Department.

“The investigation is at an early stage, and there is no information yet about the planning or motive of the act.”

Current Prime Minister Sanna Marin described the incident as “serious and reprehensible”.

“An act of violence against a Member of Parliament is an insult not only to the individual but also to Parliament as a whole,” Marin tweeted.

“The physical integrity of representatives is an important part of a credible democracy,” added Anu Vehvilainen, Speaker of the Parliament and member of the Centre Party.

“We Finns can never accept that our representatives are subjected to violence.”

Paavo Arhinmaki, former party leader for the Left Alliance, also tweeted, saying that “political violence must not be allowed in Finland”.

“An attack on an MP is not just a reprehensible attack on the individual but an attack on the whole of Parliament and democracy.”

Finland is due to hold municipal elections in April despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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