A series of homophobic attacks have been reported in the northern Finnish city of Oulu, according to the University of Oulu’s student body. Its chair, Ilari Nisula, says the attacks have taken place near a night club frequented, in particular, by gays and lesbians.
”Customers have been subject to verbal abuse, provocations and physical attacks,” Nisula adds.
Police in Oulu remain reticent on the matter. Local police commissioner Risto Viippola denies any reports of such incidents. However the university student body says at least one attack has been reported to the authorities.
The student body has issued a statement calling for an atmosphere of tolerance and community spirit.
It adds that recent discussions have caused a dividing line to be drawn between mainstream society and minorities. People in the city of Oulu should be able to live without confronting discrimination and intolerance, the statement concluded.
The student body has demanded the University of Oulu work in cooperation with local police and NGO’s to promote an atmosphere of tolerance and security.
A tear gas attack against the Helsinki Pride gay festival in Helsinki in July inspired many Finns to actively support rights for members of sexual minorities. The country's leading gay rights organisation, SETA, reported a surge in membership in response to acts of homophobia. Many leading politicians condemned the attack.
Homophobic Attacks in Oulu, Finland
Finland's national broadcasting company YLE published the following in its News in English yesterday, 20.10.10: