By Chris King •
Updated: 11 Dec 2022 • 2:06
Image of Russian flag.
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday, December 10, denounced the burning of a Russian flag in Helsinki last December 6. The incident occurred as Finland celebrated its Independence Day. Such ‘extremist antics’ should be stopped in the future insisted Russia.
“In this regard, a diplomatic demarche was undertaken against the Finnish side through the Russian Foreign Ministry, during which it was stated that such actions are considered in Moscow as an unprecedented unacceptable act of desecration of the state symbol of our country”, a message on the website of the diplomatic department read.
Moscow appealed to Helsinki demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice and take ‘measures to prevent such extremist tricks from happening in the future’.
In accordance with Article 239 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, desecration of the State Emblem or the State Flag is punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year. It can also carry a penalty of forced labour for the same term, or a lesser term of three to six months in jail. Finnish law only penalises desecration of the flag of Finland.
Celebrations on Finnish Independence Day traditionally begin with the official flag-raising ceremony on Tahtitornimaki Hill in the centre of Helsinki. This is followed by military parades in the afternoon, and in the late afternoon, various social movements hold a traditional torchlight procession. The column moves from the Hietaniemi cemetery to the Senate Square.
According to the TV and radio company Yle, the protesters burned the Russian flag right in front of the cemetery gates. The policemen on duty there noticed the incident and ordered the activists to stop, but did not detain anyone.
The authorities of the Finnish capital said that the celebration, in general, had passed ‘without serious disturbances’. According to preliminary estimates, several thousand people took part in the demonstrations on December 6, as reported by gazeta.ru.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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