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Friday, February 12, 2016

It’s Clowns Vs. ‘Soldiers Of Odin’ In Finland

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, a group that calls themselves the Soldiers of Odin demonstrate in Joensuu, Eastern Finland. The rise of the Soldiers of Odin, which claims 500 members, has sparked both concern and ridicule in the Nordic country. They derive their name from a Norse god, and insist their patrols are needed to protect the peace in the sparsely populated nation of 5.5 million, which wasn’'t a major destination for migrants until 32,500 people applied for asylum last year. The "soldiers" are now being challenged by a group of smiling women offering hugs and even some clowns. (Minna Raitavuo/Lehtikuva via AP)

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, a group that calls itself the Soldiers of Odin demonstrates in Joensuu, Finland. The rise of the Soldiers of Odin, which claims 500 members, has sparked both concern and ridicule in the Nordic country. They derive their name from a Norse god, and insist their patrols are needed to protect the peace in the sparsely populated nation of 5.5 million, which wasn’’t a major destination for migrants until 32,500 people applied for asylum last year. The Soldiers are now being challenged by a group of smiling women offering hugs and even some clowns. (Minna Raitavuo/Lehtikuva via AP)

A far-right group that calls itself the Soldiers of Odin is patrolling the streets of Finland dressed in leather jackets, saying people need protection from the influx of migrants.

But not all Finns feel the same. Clowns calling themselves the Loldiers of Odin (think LOL – laugh out loud – plus soldiers) is responding.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Helsinki-based reporter Ilpo Salonen about the colorful activists.

Guest

  • Ilpo Salonen, reporter based in Helsinki.

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