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Local Dynamics of Vigilantism – Anti-Immigrant Street Patrol Groups and the Finns Party in Local Context

Extremism
 
Local Government
 
Political Parties
 
Political Violence
 
Populism
 
Refugee
 
Presenter
Tommi Kotonen
University of Jyväskylä
Authors
Tommi Kotonen
University of Jyväskylä

Abstract
Paper analyzes the relation between different anti-immigration street patrol groups and the populist Finns Party. Especially with the Soldiers of Odin the street patrolling grew sharply in Finland in 2015 and early 2016. Reasons behind the growth have not yet been properly analyzed. Based on both online ethnography as well as on traditional ethnography, including interviews with local party representatives and patrol organizers, and drawing data also from police and court files, paper tries to shed light on how and why the Finns Party has in some cases supported the growth of the anti-immigration street patrol movement in Finland, and analyzes the effects of this support and the different forms co-operation between the movement and the party. The case analysis shows how the local political context is often crucial in order to understand the development of potentially violent anti-immigration groups - or in some cases the lack of such development. The split within Finns Party – culminating in 2017 party congress after which the anti-immigration wing of the party moved to opposition – is also analyzed as one key element effecting the growth of the street patrol groups.
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