Police Release Elokapina Climate Activists, Probe Into Protest Continues

Police Release Elokapina Climate Activists, Probe Into Protest Continues

Police in southeast Finland say they have released all 38 climate activists detained on Monday during a protest outside the forestry firm UPM’s pulp mill near the southeeastern city of Kouvola.

The protest was organised by Elokapina, the Finnish branch of the global climate action movement Extinction Rebellion, and saw activists blocking roads and a rail line into the plant.

Detective Inspector Mika Salminen said that the suspects will be interviewed in the coming days, after which a file will likely be passed to prosecutors for consideration.

“Depending on whether the person was on a motorway or on a railway line, the suspected offences to be investigated are obstructing traffic or endangering traffic safety. In addition, either insubordination against a police officer or obstructing an officer will also be investigated, depending on the behaviour of the person detained,” Salminen explained.

He added that overall the police’s interactions with the demonstrators went well.

“I think there was a fair and frank exchange of views with the demonstrators. There were no insults or overreactions,” Salminen said.

Police had removed all the protesters from the site by about 10pm on Monday.

In a press statement released shortly after the blockade began, Elokapina said that Monday’s protest was being taken in solidatiry with activists in Uruguay to demand changes to UPM’s operating policy.

“The protestors are demanding a reduction of wood use by UPM, a restructuring of the forest industry, the payment of the ecological debt in Uruguay, and an end to greenwashing,” the statement said.

Last month, UPM opened a 2.1 million tonne greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill near Paso de los Toros in central Uruguay — an area which the Elokapina statement noted “is currently suffering a water crisis.”

Source : YLE


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