Finland teen who dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfit to anti-immigration protest may face charges

Demonstrators taking part in a protest against asylum seekers in the Hennala district in Lahti on  Sept 24, 2015.
Demonstrators taking part in a protest against asylum seekers in the Hennala district in Lahti on Sept 24, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

HELSINKI (AFP) - A Finnish teenager who wore a Ku Klux Klan-style outfit to an anti-immigration protest has been questioned and may face charges, police said on Tuesday (Sept 30).

The 19-year-old was filmed by public television at a demonstration on Thursday night in the southern city of Lahti, wearing the notorious white cone mask of the racist American organisation.

Two other protesters were held the same evening for throwing rocks and Red Cross volunteers, but the young man was only brought in on Monday.

He was released after questioning but could face charges for "inciting an offence and contempt for the Finnish flag", which he was also with him on the march, police said in a statement.

The outfit was a "stupid, improvised thing" he reportedly told officers.

"He has no criminal record and is not known to be part of any militant group," the statement added.

The Finnish government was quick to condemn as "racist" the protest against a new centre for asylum seekers, adding that "violence and threats are never acceptable".

The country has been forced to open new shelters for migrants in the face of facing an unexpected influx of asylum seekers, a large number of whom are Iraqis who arrived via neighbouring Sweden.