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Rowdy Finns 'invade' Swedish border town

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Rowdy Finns 'invade' Swedish border town
Finnish hockey fans celebrating in central Stockholm
17:48 CEST+02:00
Several thousand Finnish ice hockey fans crossed the border to Haparanda in northern Sweden late on Sunday night after their spectacular 6-1 World Championship win, forcing local police to call for reinforcements to control order.

"If we had been able to close the border we would have, but you need a government decision to do that,"Christer Holm of the Haparanda police told daily Expressen.

According to Holm, the atmosphere was very heated at times.

“There was a procession of cars, they made lots of noise so people couldn't sleep, and there were a couple of assaults. There was also quite a few scuffles that were never reported,“ Holm told news agency TT.

One girl had her feet run over, in what was probably an accident, and was taken to hospital. Another minor assault was reported.

“In both these cases we have suspects and they are Swedish,“ said Holm.

According to Expressen, the locals did not appreciate the Finnish visit, as the cases of assault were reported to the police by Finns.

There were also a few incidents reported where the Swedish flag had been burnt.

“That they burn the Swedish flag we find a bit alarming. It is their way of celebrating of course but it makes the whole thing a little more serious,” said Holm to daily Expressen.

After the reinforcements had arrived the local police managed to have the situation calmed down in the early hours of the morning.

“The Finns usually cross the border and make noise even after ordinary games but of course this was a bit special. I suppose they have some sort of big-brother complex. It is lucky that they don't win that often,“ Holm told TT.

This was only the second time that Finland has won the Ice Hockey World Championships. Last time they won was in 1995 and celebrating Finns inundated Haparanda then as well.

Swedes tend to cross the border to Finland after a win, but according to Robert Sonntag of the local police in the Finnish city of Tornio across the border, that is usually a calmer affair.

However, that is not because Swedes are calmer by nature but because they win more often.

“It doesn't happen that often here. Only every 16th year or so. That could be why," he said to Expressen.

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