Victims Data
Victims Nationality/Ethnic Origin N/A
Victims Gender Male
Victims Age N/A
Victims Number 1
Fatalities - deaths N/A
Perpetrators Data
Perpetrators Nationality/Ethnic Origin Finnish
Perpetrator Gender N/A
Perpetrator Age N/A
Perpetrators Number 1
Extremist/Organised Group Violence No

A bus driver working for Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy, the large city-owned bus operator, was attacked in Helsinki’s Elielinaukio Square on Wednesday afternoon.

The driver, of African background, had just boarded the bus when he was kicked forcefully from behind. The kick landed on the man’s leg just below the knee and the victim was not seriously injured. The perpetrator fled the scene immediately.

According to Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) transport services director Reijo Mäkinen, the abuse followed the typical pattern of the type of violence bus drivers are now regularly being subjected to.


 “What is striking about these acts of violence is that they happen unexpectedly. There is a guard in the Elielinaukio Square, but he just happened to be elsewhere when the incident took place.”

According to transport director Mika Seppänen of Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy, approximately the same number of Finnish and foreign-background drivers are subjected to this type of attack.
Bus driver Kari Nuutinen is not really surprised to hear that a colleague of his has once again been attacked in Elielinaukio.


 “The situation is getting out of hand. Anything can happen anywhere. The least one can demand is that the drivers can do their work in peace”, Nuutinen ponders.
 “There isn’t really a remedy for this. In the winter security was stepped up and the guards were very active. They even came to the bus door to ensure that everything was alright. Now there are fewer guards around.”


In Nuutinen’s view the most dangerous areas are the outskirts of the city, where help is not close at hand.
“Today’s youth feel that they can behave any which way they want, according to their own rules. But problems may occur with other people as well. The troublemaker can be almost anyone”, Nuutinen continues.

Bus driver Olev Pill, who is of Estonian origin, describes colourfully how two weeks ago a group of young adults started to make trouble at the back of his bus at around two o’clock in the morning. They loosened the hammers with which the windows can be broken in case of an emergency. They also started yelling threats and abuse.

“They mocked me and shouted how I as a foreigner was taking jobs from the Finns. I had my phone ready to call the police for help, but they did not attack me”, Pill explains.


Eemeli Ilander, who has driven buses for 28 years, says that the driver’s work environment has to be better protected and that the number of guards has to be increased. Otherwise the number of attacks against the drivers will not be reduced.
”I only drive day shifts nowadays, but even during the weekdays anything can happen. You always have to be on the alert”, Ilander explains.

This year Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy alonehas filed reports on eleven attacks against its drivers. Work safety official Matti Ahonen of Espoo-based Veolia Transport fears that the number of attacks in the capital area will reach a hundred by the end of the year. One particularly nasty case in February led to threats of strike action if security was not improved.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition: Bus driver of immigrant background attacked in Helsinki (6.5.2011)