About 40 Finnish people in the small southern town of Lahti, Finland violently attacked, Red Cross volunteers working in the town, along with a bus carrying new immigrant arrivals.
The protesters waved Finnish flags. Some wore white robes and pointed hats characteristic of the Ku Klux Klan, the US-based white supremacist group linked to racist murders by lynching as recently as 1981.
In a separate incident in the nearby town of Kouvola, Finland on Thursday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a reception centre for asylum seekers.
The refugees arriving in Lahti were mostly fleeing violence in war-torn Iraq, and the group included several children.
A 2011 poll shows that 66% of Finnish respondents considered Finland to be a racist country but only 14% admitted to being racists themselves. Minority groups getting the most negative attitudes were Finnish Kale [a group of the Romani people who live primarily in Finland and Sweden], Somalis and Muslims.
In December 2012 the Finnish Police reported an increase in cases of racism and related physical abuse. In February 2013 researchers of racism and multiculturalism reported an increase in amount of threats and abuse. In January 2013 Save the Children reported that immigrant children are facing an increasing amount of racist abuse. In June 2011 a researcher reported an increase in amount of racist violence targeting children and teenagers.