Finns Party councilor Jani Viinikainen has been caught on camera giving a Nazi salute at last weekend’s Hetero Pride demonstration in the Finnish capital Helsinki. The Kangasala councilor, who helped organise the protest, was pictured giving Nazi salutes for a post-demonstration photograph.
The image was plastered all over social media sites before long, and a video of Viinikainen participating in Nazi gatherings appeared online soon after as well.
Viinikainen initially denied having any knowledge that the photo had Nazi salutes. Furthermore, he said that a video appearing to show him giving a straight-arm salute and wearing a Hitler mask in the woods had been manipulated. It remains unclear when the video and photo were taken, but the councilor initially claimed both were edited and did not show what they were meant to show.
However, he changed his story a day later and admitted that the photo was taken as an inside joke after Saturday’s demonstration. He added that he didn’t dare tell the truth at the time.
The Hetero Pride activist has already lost his position on his party’s regional council due to homophobic posts on social media. He has now said he expects further repercussions after the Nazi images appeared.