The Care Finland groups are divided into tactics, leadership and alcohol

The Care Finland groups are divided into tactics, leadership and alcohol

Disagreements and internal fighting between the various factions of the Convoy Finland movement after last weekend’s protest – which temporarily closed Mannerheimintie in Helsinki and led to the arrest of about 70 people – have led to the division of the group in two, Yle understands.

Conversations between protesters in the Telegram messaging app have revealed disappointment with the organization of the event, confusion over conflicting messages, and criticism of the widespread drinking that took place during the protests.

The controversy led to the creation of a new group in Telegram "Convoy Finland 2022 2.0" on Sunday night.

Niclas Raumawho attended the weekend’s demonstrations, told Yele that he was one of the Telegram group administrators involved in organizing the event.

"Some people behaved in ways that we did not think represented our values, that we were not politically or religiously committed, that we did not accept violence, and that we did not want to see any kind of vandalism," Rauma spoke about the group’s internal divisions.

Annika LeinoThe doctor who set up the group that organized the weekend’s protest is not a member of the new group and informed Yle via Telegram that his access to the 2.0 group had been blocked.

Leino refused to interview Yle for free. Yle does not pay for interviews.

Differences within the group were evident last Thursday, even before the protest began, but resolved before Friday.

“I haven’t come here to take care of the baby”

Despite the disagreements, Rauma told Yle that he was happy that a lot of people arrived "to support human rights" Over the weekend.

"Of course, it was a bit wild then in the later hours of the night, but that was not what we wanted either, and I have to say that there were small excesses on the part of the authorities as well." Rauma said he added that he thought the police unnecessarily detained some people during the protest.

Police took a total of 55 people into the cells on Friday night, two of whom joined the authorities’ violent resistance, and a further 15 people were arrested on Saturday.

The Helsinki Police Department said on Monday that it was investigating a wide range of suspected crimes related to the protests.

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Police will protect the parliament building on Friday.Silja Viitala / Yle

According to Rauma, the protesters were told very strongly that violence or vandalism was not tolerated, and all participants were also asked to intervene if they saw other demonstrators behaving in this way.

"Yes, we gave a strong message about what kind of behavior we expected from our participants and what we would like from them," he said.

Yle said on Saturday that journalists describing the incident were subjected to verbal and physical harassment in their work. Attempts were also made to steal production equipment.

The reports led the Finnish Journalists’ Association (PTY) to recall that the media is not a party to the demonstrations and that both the demonstrations and the free media are part of a democratic society.

Rauma told Yle that he did not personally support such behavior.

"I haven’t come here to take care of the baby. I can’t say if it was necessarily someone in our group or someone from Helsinki’s nightlife," he said.

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Niclas Rauma
Niclas Rauma told Yle that the group’s goals remain the same, even though the group is divided.

Protester: Impact “already visible”

The protest continues, Rauma said, even though the movement itself is divided. According to the organizers, the Helsinki police have previously said that the demonstration will continue until Wednesday.

The goals are also unchanged, Rauma added.

The demands include the removal of all restrictions on Covid in Finland, a 50 percent reduction in fuel tax and the resignation of the current government.

The effects of the demonstration are already visible, Rauma told Yle.

"If we look at what has happened there over the weekend, the Basic Finns submitted the application [interpellation] the question of these fuel taxes and [NCP chair] Petteri Orpo has begun to wonder whether this Covid passport is justified," he said.

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Protesters on Mannerheimintie.
Hundreds of people took part in the protests on Friday.Silja Viitala / Yle

However, opposition to the fuel tax has been the subject of previous protests, and problems with the Covid passport have also been raised before the Convoy Finland protest. For example, THL has stated before the weekend that it is no longer worth continuing to use the passport.

Disappointing in the air

The aftermath of the Convoy Finland demonstration was also discussed over the weekend and Monday on the protest group’s Telegram platform.

Some considered the demonstration a failure, while others found the protest movement’s goals and statements too confusing. The use of alcohol was also condemned.

"Teenagers Elokapina [Finnish branch of Extinction Rebellion climate action group] “took their own swords” to the point where the police sprayed them [with pepper spray] and forcibly carried them away. Why couldn’t the convoys do the same?" one of the members asked.

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A movement called Convoy Finland staged a demonstration in the center of Helsinki on Friday, February 4th.
Fireworks were thrown at police during the protest.Silja Viitala / Yle

Some participants said they were concerned about the evidence of racism during the demonstration.

The group also discussed how the protest was handled and what kind of statements were made on social media.

"As an idea, this was good and I was in that mood last week. But now the general public is just laughing at the whole thing, and our message didn’t get through," another wrote.

Annika Leino, who founded the original Telegram group, also admitted that the goals were not achieved over the weekend.

"But hey. Seriously. Quite an epic uproar was made during a couple of evenings," Leino wrote in the Telegram group discussion.

Some members of the protest movement met with Rauma on Monday in Hermanninranta, Helsinki, to discuss the new direction of the movement. However, Rauma did not want to take a precise position on where and when the protests would continue.

"I’m not going to comment on it in more detail here. But the warriors are protesting again next Saturday and they have quite a marathon this month, as every weekend there is a demonstration in front of the parliament building. So a busy month is coming," he said.

Source: The Nordic Page

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