Deputy mayor stopped train traffic while doing illegal graffiti – “I apologize”

Published 28 June 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Paavo Arhinmäki has been fascinated by graffiti since childhood.

Paavo Arhinmäki, the deputy mayor of Helsinki, was caught graffitiing a wall by the railroad tracks with a friend on Midsummer’s Eve.

The police also had to shut down train traffic because of the left-wing politician’s actions – as unauthorized people are not allowed to be on the tracks under any circumstances.

Paavo Arhinmäki, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Leisure in Helsinki, is a former leader of the Socialist Left Alliance and a former Member of Parliament.

At around 10 pm on Midsummer’s Eve, he and a friend were confronted by security guards while painting illegal graffiti on a concrete wall near a railway tunnel, and the police were called.

The left-wing politician admits that he is guilty of a crime and “will bear responsibility” for it, but he is also being investigated for disrupting traffic because the police had to shut down train traffic on the track as unauthorized people are not allowed on the track area, Yle, Finland’s national public broadcasting company, reports.

However, Arhinmäki does not believe he needs to resign from his post as deputy mayor and is also supported by the Left Alliance council group.

– Arhinmäki immediately told the group about what happened and apologized profoundly. He will bear criminal responsibility. We have full confidence in him and support him as deputy mayor even after this, says Mia Haglund, chair of the group.

On Facebook, the left-wing leader says that he has always been fascinated by graffiti, that he is aware that there are a lot of legal graffiti walls in Helsinki, but that he still decided to paint by the train track.

“It was stupid of us to think that no one would care about us painting in such a place… In hindsight, it was a stupid idea to think that there was no train to Vuosaari harbor. There is no midsummer on the world’s oceans. And it was stupid to paint there when there are licensed walls”, he writes, among other things.

“I am truly sorry for this idiotic stupidity. I apologize”, he concludes.

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