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Finland's PM unhurt after man pulls knife at rally

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-10-22

Finland's Prime Minister Jykri Katainen escaped unharmed on Monday after a man pulled out a knife as the PM met with voters ahead of municipal elections. Bodyguards moved in quickly to avert any threat to Katainen.

A man wielding a knife in front of Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen was detained on Monday, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

"Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is unharmed after his security personnel detained a person who brought a knife to Katainen's campaign event in Turku," said the statement.

Finnish police said in a statement that a man in his late twenties "caused a disturbance" at the campaign rally at 4:40 pm (1340 GMT). "The man did not behave aggressively," it said.

Security guards quickly swooped in to protect Katainen, 41, and removed him from the scene.

"The prime minister is unharmed. He continues his duty as normal on Tuesday," a government spokesman, Kari Mokko, told AFP, adding that Katainen was no longer in the south-western town of Turku.

A young "disheveled"-looking man had approached the prime minister to shake his hand, saying he was in a difficult situation and needed help, newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reported.

"Then the man went down on his knees, pulled out a knife and said something about killing," photographer Robert Seger, who witnessed the event, told the daily.

Katainen, the country's prime minister since June last year and a staunch defender of the euro, had been discussing taxes on diesel and taxes paid by the elderly before the incident.

Finns will be going to the polls on Sunday to vote in municipal elections. Campaigning has focused on unemployment, healthcare and taxes.

Opinion polls have the prime minister's National Coalition Party in the lead with 20.6 percent of the vote, followed by the Social Democrats at 19.1 percent.

The right wing populist True Finns party is expected to make a strong showing and is currently polling at 15.8 percent.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-10-22

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