Police in Helsinki, Finland, has arrested four demonstrators during a protest gathering in front of the Iranian embassy Monday afternoon September 10.
“According to the local media and the police, the protestors snatched an Iranian flag from the embassy premises and set it on fire. They also pelted stones at police on duty at the spot and at a police helicopter that was being used to film the scene,” reported Daily Finland.
The identity of the four demonstrators held by the police has not been revealed.
The police were informed in advance that the protest would take place between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, but the police said the protestors became violent during the demonstration, according to the Daily Finland,
Three of those arrested have been charged with “disturbing of the peace and flag-burning,” and the fourth with “violent behavior.”
According to the police, some 150 people took part in the demonstration in front of the Iranian embassy, however, no one was injured although the demonstration turned violent.
The police are going to release further information on Tuesday about the demonstrators’ violent behavior.
In Iran, low-key news outlet the Young Journalist Club, affiliated with the state TV reported the attack on the embassy, which it said was located in a peaceful residential area in the eastern part of Helsinki. However, the state TV was not observed to cover the protests and the attack.
This was not the first attack on an Islamic Republic of Iran embassy. The most recent attack on an Iranian diplomatic mission took place last weekend in Basra in southern Iraq where angry demonstrators set fire to an Iranian consulate.
Iran summoned Iraq’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry and protested against Iraqi security forces’ reluctance in the face of the attack.
In another development, last year, supporters of dissident cleric Ayatollah Sadeq Shirazi attacked the Iranian embassy in London. The episode ended after a few hours as a number of demonstrators were arrested.
The Iranian embassy in Berlin has also been attacked by angry Iranian demonstrators several times during recent years.
The Islamic Republic usually condemns such attacks. However, attacks on embassies and other diplomatic missions have taken place in Iran several times since the Islamic Republic was established in 1971.
Iranian demonstrators supported by state officials seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held hostage 54 US diplomats for 444 days.
Since then, there have been a few attacks on the British embassy and diplomatic buildings, as well as the embassies of Denmark and Saudi Arabia in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashad in the northeast.
As a result of the violent attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions, relations between Tehran and Riyadh have been effectively cut off. The two countries have been fighting a proxy war against each other in Yemen which has claimed thousands of lives.
Although Iranian officials at times apparently frowned at such attacks on diplomatic missions several months later, but they never stopped such attacks and did not punish the perpetrators who were clearly linked to state officials by the media.