Finland shocked by two far-right stabbings within one week

In June this year, there were two stabbings in the Finnish city of Oulu, only one week apart and both motivated by far-right and racist ideology. The victims in both cases survived and the perpetrators are, at the time of writing, being detained by the police. This is an English version of an article we published between the two stabbing attacks and will focus on the suspect in the first stabbing case and the connections of the Finns party, that is currently in the Finnish government along with three other right-wing parties.

The suspect of the second stabbing case is a minor but being fifteen, above the age of criminal responsibility. The police have found in the investigation that he was wearing a shirt with a nazi reference written on it and carried a knife embellished with swastikas. The victim was an adult man of Asian background who managed to get help after the stabbing. The second attack was inspired by the first that had taken place a week earlier in the exact same mall.

The man suspected for the first stabbing in Oulu is Sebastian Lämsä (born 1990), a long-time member of the Nordic Resistance Movement. The victim was a 12-year-old boy with Finnish citizenship from an immigrant background. Lämsä attacked the victim from behind and stabbed him several times. This despicable, racially motivated attack against a child is not the first of Lämsä’s act of violence fuelled by far-right ideology.

Sebastian Lämsä (right) with his lawyer after being detained.

Sebastian Lämsä: a violent long-time neonazi

Lämsä, who is from Oulu, was an active member of the Nordic Resistance Movement for years and has committed numerous acts of violence over the years. In 2013, he attacked the Jyväskylä city library with two other fascists, Paavo Laitinen and Sampsa Muhonen. As the attack happened, there was a talk being held in the library about a recently published book on the history and the contemporary movement of the far-right in Finland (Äärioikeisto Suomessa, written by Li Andersson (chairwoman and elected MEP for the Left Alliance in 2024), Mikael Brunila and Dan Koivulaakso). The fascist attackers were stopped before they could reach the event, and one person at the door was stabbed before the attackers fled. Organisers of the talk had informed the police beforehand about the potential threats to the event, but the police only arrived after the attack. Lämsä got a suspended sentence of year and a half and had to pay thousands of euro in damages. A year prior, in 2012, Lämsä peppersprayed the same Koivulaakso at an event organised by LGBTQ+ organisation Seta. The same year, Lämsä assaulted a man at his doorstep with two others in the city of Tampere. In 2021, the Oulu District Court remanded him as he was being suspected of planning a violent crime. During the investigation, the police confiscated boxes of an explosives manufacturer company Forcit Oy. Lämsä was released later on and the investigation is still on-going.

Older picture of Lämsä at a NRM event

The stabbing that took place in Oulu, or any the other Lämsä’s acts of violence, have not happened in a vacuum. The sentences Lämsä has received have not stopped him from committing other violent attacks, either. Lämsä’s organisation NRM was outlawed in Finland in 2020, but it’s clear that it was not a sufficient step in eliminating far-right and fascist ideology, a central element of which is violence against marginalised groups.

Vilhelm Junnila (Finns Party MP) speaking at the far-right “Kukkavirta” event in Turku 2019. Behind him, Nordic Resistance Movement and Soldiers of Odin activists posing.

Neonazi connections all the way up to the government

The connections between the NRM and the Finns party, a current government party in Finland, are not to be forgotten. Jussi Halla-aho, the former leader of the Finns party, has taken part in the fascist 612 marches that the NRM has helped to organise on the Finnish Independence Day. Vilhelm Junnila (former Minister of Economic Affairs) has taken part in an event called Kukkavirta (a far-right event very thinly veiled as a ‘memorial’ for the victims of a 2017 terrorist attack in Finland) in Turku, which is organised and attended by members of the NRM. The current deputy leader of the Finns party Mauri Peltokangas and Henri Hautamäki, a party member, have held speeches at the Kukkavirta event alongside Junnila and have been seen to cozy up to the NRM nazis. Halla-aho, the former leader of the party, did not see his party’s members’ participation in the event as problematic. Peltokangas is currently the leader of a regional group of Suomen Sisu, Finlands longest functioning fascist organisation. Olli Immonen, the secretary of the Finns party parliamentary group, has also acted as the leader of Suomen Sisu and some years ago caused a scandal talking about a forthcoming ‘race war.’ The current leader of the Finns party and finance minister Riikka Purra has fantasised about violence against people of immigrant backgrounds. It was revealed in the summer of 2023, just after the Finland’s new right-wing coalition government had been formed, that Purra had been writing violent, racist and misogynistic comments on a far-right online forum grown out of comment section of Jussi Halla-aho’s blog. In Purra’s fantasies, she would have committed violence on a commuter train, whereas Lämsä’s act of real life violence took place in a shopping centre.

Olli Immonen and other representatives for the Finns at a group photo in Porvoo 2015. The “green” names are members of the pan-nordic Nordic Resistance Movement, which has been outlawed in Finland since 2020 but is still active mainly in Sweden.

People suspected and sentenced of other far-right acts of violence or plans to commit violence have connections to the Finns party as well. Members of a far-right terrorist group based in the city of Lahti were sentenced to prison in October 2023 for crimes committed with terrorist intent, the main suspect being Viljam Nyman, who has been a member of the Finns party and a candidate in the local elections in 2017. Marko Meretvuo, an author employed by the Finns party think-tank Suomen Perusta, was caught in an investigation about fake letter bombs that were sent to the offices of Left Alliance, the Green party and the Social Democrats. As the investigation went on, the police started to suspect him of practicing devil worship and preparing a ritual murder. It’s clear that the connections between violent nazis and Finns party MPs and government ministers are not coincidences nor random individual cases. Violent nazis acting on the streets and supposedly ‘respectable’ members of the Finns party share a similar far-right world view and ideology.

Lämsä will likely receive another sentence for the stabbing, but this will not eliminate fascist thinking that aims at horrific violence even against children. The stabbing in the Jyväskylä city library was over ten years ago, but Lämsä has continued on the same path. This goes to show how the Finnish judicial system and state have completely failed to protect people from far-right violence, as does the fact that Lämsä’s violent attack inspired a teenager to do the same. Just like in the case of the Jyväskylä city library stabbing, where antifascists present at the scene stopped the nazi attack, only we can protect ourselves and each other from fascist violence. This proves yet again that antifascist activity ultimately is self-defence.

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