Meet the goofy clowns defending migrants in Finland
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First came the “Soldiers of Odin”. For months now, men dressed all in black have patrolled the streets of several Finnish cities, carrying anti-immigration signs like “Migrants not welcome”. But now, they’ve got competition from the “LOLdiers of Odin” – men and women dressed as clowns, who make fun of the Soldiers of Odin and carry signs like “Sieg Fail!”
A video of the clowns trailing the Soldiers of Odin last weekend in the city of Tampere shows them playing the tambourine, turning cartwheels and generally having a grand time. Meanwhile, the men in black try to ignore them.
"Clowns like all the colours, not just white!"FRANCE 24 chatted with one of the LOLdiers. Pelle Höpönassu stayed in character during the entire conversation, which was conducted by email.
We have ALWAYS been clowns, Soldiers of Odin just brought out the the fun. They are so hilarious, even more hilarious-er than us!
For such a goofy group, the Soldiers of Odin sure looked seeerious! Dressed in black like men in black like they were trying to block out all the rainbow colours. Clowns like aaaaallll the colours, not just white! Or black. Or pink, or orange, or green, or green! We decided to bring happy-happy-joy-joy and lots of love with hopping, playing, singing and marshmallows! They didn’t want to play with us, which made us sad.
Asked if they had a message for the Soldiers of Odin, the clown responded:
Dear daffodils, why so serious? Maybe you're a bit delirious? … Clowns want to welcome anyone from any planet or any galaxy - we are all one big happy family! Some seeeerious daffodils don't think the same way and that makes us very very very sad. :((
Will the LOLdiers patrol again soon? The clown’s answer:
Patrolling was lots of fun, and it's very difficult to keep clowns from doing funny things! We like surprises and come when you least expect it.
The Soldiers of Odin, whose members describe themselves as patriots who want to protect Finns from “Islamist intruders”, have received lots of criticism in Finland, including from prime minister Juha Sipila. She warned that “civilian patrols cannot assume the authority of the police”. Local police, however, say they cannot stop them from patrolling as there is no law against it. In the Helsinki Times, expats have reported being harrassed by one of these patrols.
Unlike neighbouring Sweden, welcoming large numbers of refugees is a new experience for Finland. About 32,000 people sought asylum in Finland last year, compared to only 3,600 the year before.