UK MailOnline was given exclusive access into the lives of the vigilante group, “Soldiers of Odin.” The publication however seems hell-bent on tying this group of men, patrolling the streets to protect Finnish women and children, to their founder who was admittedly a neo-Nazi. The one point they seem to be missing in their attempt to cast a negative shadow on this group, is that they are keeping the Muslim migrant rapists in line. There has not been one reported incident of violence by this vigilante group to date, and we have to believe the women and children in the neighborhoods they’re patrolling must be grateful for their presence.
“I think it’s going to be a war between local people and immigrants.” – Soldiers of Odin member
“Foreigners can’t go out alone after dark anymore. It used to be safe to go out in Finland at night, even by yourself, but now we just don’t have the courage to do it.” – Migrant
A gang of vigilantes led by a violent neo-Nazi go on night time ‘migrant patrols’ on the streets of Finland, with some talking of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the wake of the country’s mounting immigration crisis.
The self-styled ‘Soldiers of Odin’ march in a mob, wearing bomber jackets with their logo on the back. They have vowed to take direct action to ‘protect their wives, girlfriends and children’ after a migrant influx to the liberal Scandinavian country.
The gang – which claims to have cells across Europe – says it mobilised after a rise in migrant-related crime over the past 12 months because the Finnish government has ‘screwed everything up’.
We went on patrol with The Soldiers of Odin, described by some as far-Right fascists, as they pounded the streets of Kemi, western Finland, clad in black and led by a snarling mastiff dog towards the city’s refugee centre.
‘The Government screwed things up so bad, and we are the consequence,’ says masked Jani, 27, one of the group’s leaders, who works in a paper factory by day.
‘Politicians are allowing migrants to rape our women, and they are doing nothing about it. There will be a war on the streets, and we are ready to fight.’
Founded in September by ex-convict Mika Ranta, a self-confessed, violent neo-Nazi, Soldiers of Odin is one of an increasing number of anti-migrant groups springing up across the continent.
The group insists it has no connection to the Swedish football ‘firms’ who went on the rampage in Stockholm last week, and says it has not been involved in violence. But according to police, it is just a matter of time.
The vast majority of the Soldiers of Odin are working-class. MailOnline met a dustman, several steel workers, a mechanic, a truck driver and a factory worker, all of whom patrol regularly with the group. Many more are unemployed, casualties of Finland’s three-year economic downturn.
The criminal record belonging to Juha-Matti Kinnunen, 27, one of the Joensuu leaders, is typical. With 30 offences to his name, including fraud, robbery and violence, Kinnunen was also convicted of desertion from the military.
The group’s number of Facebook likes, currently at almost 25,000, is growing daily. It claims to have 600 members in more than 25 cells across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Hungary – and even in Britain and the United States.
Many local people find the group intimidating. In Joensuu – an eastern town with a history of skinhead violence, where Odins are banned from most bars – a female student stops her bicycle to tell MailOnline that she is ‘suspicious’ of the vigilantes as the patrol trudges past in the snow.
‘They are criminals and they say they are doing the job of the police,’ she says. ‘Most people think they are neo-Nazis.’
With snow continuing to fall, Jani pulls out his phone and shows MailOnline a picture of a dark-skinned man kissing a young girl. ‘She is 12 years old,’ he says, sucking on a cigarette.
‘A local person passed us the picture and we tracked the girl down. We told her parents and they called the police. That is what we do and why we are needed. The police are doing nothing. That’s why we’re here.’
The patrol arrives at the migrant shelter in Takajarvi, Kemi. It is dark and quiet at first. Then faces of migrants appear at the windows, peering warily at the men and their mastiff straining on its leash.
One African man starts typing on his phone. ‘In a few minutes, his friends will come down with iron sticks,’ Jani says. ‘It happens a lot. But with one call on a walkie-talkie, I can get 30 guys here and they will back off.’
The Odins loiter for a while, but no such gang appears. So they move on to the youth club where the alleged migrant harassment took place.
When questioned by MailOnline, neither the teenagers nor the youth leader know anything about it. But they are tolerant of the Odins, even as they gather outside the building in a pack.
‘We are quite safe, so it’s a bit silly. They look off-putting, but they don’t bother anyone,’ Marko Ketusman, the youth leader, tells MailOnline.
‘Some of them are radicals, but a lot of them are husbands and fathers trying to process their worries about migrants. They are not a bad group.’