In a normal society, signs such as “Islam will destroy Finland” would be flying in every corner of the country.
Two bedsheet-sized pieces of white fabric that appear to be spray painted with lettering, espousing anti-immigration and anti–Islam sentiments were hung among the trees behind a game fence along a highway.
The banners were seen along national road eight in Satakunta, in western Finland in the early morning hours on Thursday.
In large capital letters, drivers along the road saw the banners’ text: “Islam is destroying Finland,” and “Protect the children’s future, say no to immigration.”
Police Deputy Timo Vuola said Thursday they made the decision to remove the banners from the roadside.
He said that the text on the banners (which may already have been removed by publishing of this update) legally do not constitute incitement, but that they were being removed out of safety concerns, as they may impede traffic.
Earlier on Thursday, before the decision to remove the banners was announced, Yle Uutiset quoted one unidentified police official saying the text is “one opinion among many, the banners might well have read: ‘the maternity allowance is too low.'”
Similar occurrence last month
A similar incident occurred last month when a makeshift roadside banner carrying an apparently racist message was put up on a highway in the Tampere region.
The sign posed a question: “What’s separates man from the animals?” The response: “The Mediterranean.”
Local police had previously said they could only remove the sign if someone filed a criminal complaint, however they took it down, saying it was “inappropriate.”
Other similar incidents have occurred in recent times in southwestern Finland, as well.
This article and its headline were edited to reflect that police have decided to remove the banners from the roadside.