Finland’s government condemned a demonstration where protesters attacked a bus carrying asylum-seekers late Thursday in the southern city of Lahti.
State broadcasts from earlier Friday showed about 40 protesters, some carrying burning torches, throwing fireworks and stones at a bus, which was transporting asylum-seekers, largely families with children, to a reception center in Lahti.
Prime Minister Juha Sipila condemned the attack Friday on Twitter, saying that "threats and violence against asylum-seekers and migrants are absolutely unacceptable."
"Finland's government condemns last night's racist protests against the asylum-seekers who have come to the country. Violence and threatening behavior is always indefensible," an official government statement said, according to Agence France-Presse.
One of the protesters was seen wearing a white hood, a symbol of the American Ku Klux Klan. The crowd also threw stones at Red Cross volunteers, though there were no injuries.
Finnish police said they have arrested two protesters after the incident and added that they were likely to face fines. "The protesters were young people from Lahti... At this point we have no indication that they would be somehow organized," chief inspector Marti Hirvonen told local media.
Finland had earlier proposed a drastic tax hike in order to help pay for the refugee crisis. The so-called “solidarity tax,” which the government proposed earlier this month, would impose a tenfold increase on capital gains tax and income tax in higher brackets.
“These will help to cover higher immigration costs, which we estimate to be about 114 million euros this year,” Finance Minister Alexander Stubb had said.
The government said it expects about 30,000 refugees in 2015, compared to 3,600 last year. The influx comes at a time when the Finnish economy is set to see its fourth consecutive year of decline, as the government concentrates on cutting spending.
Finland said it would accept refugees on a “voluntary basis,” but abstained from a European Union vote that sought to create binding refugee quotas for all European nations. The measure has passed, but several European nations have remained outspoken about the quota system.