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Home NATIONALThousands join anti-racism demonstration in Helsinki
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Wed, 29 Jul, 2015 12:05:32 AM
FTimes - STT Report, July 29
Thousands took part in the Tuesday's evening demonstration in Helsinki organised in protest against racism.Photo Lehtikuva
Thousands of people protesting Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) MP Olli Immonen’s recent controversial remarks against multiculturalism on Facebook staged an anti-racism demonstration in Helsinki on Tuesday evening.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, the police had estimated that over 10,000 people had gathered at Citizens' Square to join the demonstration dubbed "we have a dream".
Over 25,000 people had announced their participation via social media site Facebook by Tuesday evening.
Former Foreign Minister  Erkki Tuomioja, the chair of the Vasemistoliitto (Left Alliance) Paavo Arhinmäki and Vihreä liitto (Green League) member of parliament  Ozan Yanar, among others addressed the crowd, confirmed Helsingin Sanomat.
A group of artists including Maija Vilkkumaa, J. Karjalainen, Anssi Kela, Jukka Poika, Anna Puu, Paleface, Tuure Kilpeläinen and Atomirotta also made their presence felt in the crowd by performing during the event, said the report. 
Photo Lehtikuva.
The presence of Matias Turkkila, the chief editor of Finns Party paper at the event was met with discontent in some quarters.
Turkkila is one of the founders of discussion forum Hommaforum. He is known to be vocal in opposing multiculturalism and is a former deputy chair of self-proclaimed nationalistic group, Suomen Sisu.
Organisers of the demonstration explained Turkkila participation was to ensure impartiality.
According to the organisers, representative from all parties had been invited to the event, and that the Finns Party had themselves chosen Turkkila to represent them.
Turkkila is reported to have told a Finnish language online paper, Uusi Suomi that it is not good for people to listen to those only who are of the same opinion as them.
According to Turkkila, the debate following Immonen's post shows that something peculiar is in the air.
Turkkila said he wanted to reflect during the event why some people fear multiculturalism while others run towards it.
Former Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja spoke at the rally. Photo Lehtikuva
Meanwhile, president Sauli Niinistö said he hoped the ongoing demonstration will take the immigration debate to the right direction.
The president said the country needs a reasoned debate on the difficulties faced by both the immigrants and the immigrant recipients.
Niinistö said that if democracy runs its cause by violence - whether by words or deeds - it is violence towards all.
The president also revealed the Finnish way of life has given room for diversity and for other customs.
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