Finland Schools


But first take your hands of my wallet………….

Tempers flare during PM Sipilä’s university visit

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was greeted by a vocal group of protesters as he arrived at the University of Eastern Finland for a bio-economy seminar. Some of the demonstrators were so incensed by proposed cuts to education spending that the situation quickly spiraled out of control.

Video: Opiskelijoiden mielenilmaus.
“Hands off … student financial aid!” protesters chanted: Heikki Haapalainen / Yle

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä visited the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu early Monday afternoon, where he was listed as the main speaker for a bio-economy seminar.

In anticipation of Sipilä’s visit, a student union organisation known as the Green Left of Eastern Finland had organised an event, “Welcome Committee for Juha Sipilä” on the university campus. Contrary to what its name suggested, the event was meant to protest government plans to cut spending on education.

Around 150 demonstrators had gathered in the lobby of the university’s Carelia building, when they discovered that Sipilä has been ushered into the lecture hall through a back door.

“Hands off … student financial aid!” the protesters chanted in call-and-response style. They were referring to recent proposals from the Ministry of Education to reduce the amount university and vocational students receive in financial aid and to shorten the duration of grant payments.

Scuffle, two detained, then released

The protesters then rushed the main door of the lecture theatre, where a few managed to slip inside. They were later ejected from the room, however.

At the door of the venue, police and security guards found themselves under pressure as they tried to prevent the group from disrupting the seminar. Reports are that a scuffle ensued.

Police later reported that they detained two persons on suspicion of disobedience. Both were later released. A third person was suspected of deliberately triggering the building’s alarm system, however no physical injuries or damage to property was reported, police said in a statement.

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