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Home NATIONALMay Day celebrations begin across country
Fri, 01 May, 2015 12:01:32 AM
Protest procession in Tampere
FTimes – STT Report, May 1
May Day celebrations began at Helsinki market square on the May Day eve on Thirsday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The celebration of International Workers’ Day, widely known as May Day, has begun in the country as elsewhere around the world commemorating the 1886 uprising of Chicago workers for establishing their rights.
The programmes marking the May Day, locally called Vappu Day, began on Thursday evening through washing and crowning of the Havis Amanda statue in the capital, with around 80,000 people witnessing the ceremony, according to a police estimate.
This year the students of the Aalto University achieved the honour of putting the cap on the Havis Amanda statue, simply known as Manta in the Helsinki market square.
Photo Lehtikuva.
In Tampere, around 120 May Day protesters led a procession from Koskipuisto. The destination of the demonstrators was to continue to a designate place of partying, the location of which was not informed in advance.
According to the police, the demonstrators threw eggs to the police vans and glass bottles to the buses as well as suspended the bumpers of police vans.
"No official notification was made on the demonstration and the march, however, this matter was started in the social media," said Ismo Rajala from the Inland Finland police department.
Most shops closed at 6.00 pm on Thursday and will resume normal operations on Saturday.
President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio will receive traditional May Day greetings today.
The event will start at 11.00 am when the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and YL Male Voice Choir will present their greetings.
Aalto University Students at Havis Amanda statue in Helsinki Market Square on the eve of May Day on Thursday. Photo Lehtikuva.
Thirty minutes later, Suomen Työväen Musiikkiliitto (Finnish Workers' Music Association) and Porin Nuorisosoittokunta (Pori Youth Band) will present their greetings.
The public can follow the greetings from the Market Square.
Similar programmes were organised across the country.
The crowning of the statue has been being done with official permission since 1951 and before that it was done without a permit.
International Workers’ Day marks the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for their legitimate rights, including an eight-hour working day. The firing resulted in the deaths of several demonstrators and police officers.
A protest procession brought out in Tampere on Thursday. Photo Lehtikuva.
May 1 was adopted as International Workers’ Day by socialist delegates in Paris in 1889. More than 400 delegates met in Paris on the centenary of the French revolution at the Marxist International Socialist Congress, the founding meeting of the Second International.
The 1889 resolution called for a one-time demonstration but it became an annual event in the course of time. May Day was celebrated in Russia, Brazil and Ireland first in 1891. 
The day is a public holiday in most countries.
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