Finland's far-right leader Riikka Purra 'sorry' for her racist, violent writings

FILE: Far-right Finns Party leader Riikka Purra looks at camera, with other party leaders in government, 15 June 2023
FILE: Far-right Finns Party leader Riikka Purra looks at camera, with other party leaders in government, 15 June 2023 Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By David Mac Dougall
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Riikka Purra says "I've made mistakes" as the government was forced to issue a statement affirming strong support for human rights and equality in the Nordic nation.


The leader of Finland's far-right Finns Party, finance minister Riikka Purra, has apologised for "stupid social media comments" she made, saying she is "not a perfect person." 

"I've made mistakes", Purra, who leads one of the parties in Finland's right-wing coalition government, wrote on Twitter

This week comments she posted on a far-right forum 15 years ago re-emerged after Finnish media matched up entries made by someone using the nickname "riikka" and Riikka Purra. 

They included racist rants about Turkish and Somali immigrants; violent posts about shooting people on a commuter train if she had a gun; and the use of the n-word in a post about wanting to spit on beggars and beat up children with an African background in Helsinki. 

At first Purra neither confirmed nor denied she made the comments, which were written in her 30s when she had an academic career as a university researcher, but before she was active in politics. She later admitted that she wrote the posts. 

"Taken out of context and evaluated in the present moment, some texts look even worse," wrote Purra, adding "I do not accept any kind of violence, racism or discrimination". 

The Finnish government has also issued a statement, co-signed by the leaders of the ruling National Coalition Party, Finns Party, Swedish People's Party and Christian Democrats about human rights in the Nordic nation.

"The government works purposefully to promote equality, equality and non-discrimination in society. Everyone has the right to feel safe and well in Finland, regardless of their background," the statement says. 

It was published after Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told reporters at the NATO summit in Vilnius that the government should "take a clear stance of zero tolerance of racism."

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