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Attacks on the rainbow: in Finland, attempts to support Pride face threats and bureaucracy

LGBT organizations are concerned about the growing level of aggression in society.

In recent weeks, there have been several cases when attempts by the authorities or ordinary people to support the month of struggle for the rights of sexual minorities turned out to be a failure or caused aggression.

The first failure befell the administration of Turku in early June, which decided to paint one of the pedestrian crossings in rainbow colors. Such transitions have already become commonplace in other cities of the Western world – and not only during the pride.

The rainbow crossing immediately received a lot of attention from the media and citizens. He was also noticed in the Police Department, where they considered that he was violating the current traffic law, and asked to return the crossing at the Turku City Theater to its original form. The administration had no choice but to obey the police.

In Turku, however, they did not calm down and decided to paint the star on the square in front of the theater in rainbow colors. This star is a creation by artist Jan-Erik Anderson for the environment. On the night of July 1, vandals spoiled the rainbow star, leaving traces of either paint or bicycle tires on it.

This week they also wanted to paint the sidewalk in the town of Hankasalmi, located in Central Finland. When local youth painted the road rainbow colors, a passer-by began to behave aggressively and threaten the teenagers. The rainbow, however, still remains in place, and the head of the municipality of Hankasalmi expressed support for sexual minorities.

Another incident happened in the city of Riihimäki. There, the day before yesterday, two rainbow flags were stolen from the three that hung at the monument to the glassblower. The city administration has already written a statement to the police and promised that it will purchase new flags and will take them off the flagpole for the night next year.

The Seta Society for the Protection of the Rights of Sexual Minorities is concerned about these cases and especially the growing level of aggression.

– This is a growing trend. It is frightening that people can turn from threats to physical violence. We are extremely concerned about the direction in which society is moving, says Petri Janhunen from Seta.

Janhunen himself faced threats. When he ran for the local council in the last municipal elections, he received an e-mail regretting that there are now no Hitler-like “cleaners” to plant a bomb in every Seta office, the activist shares.