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Thousands to protest racism across country | national | Finland Times

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Sunday, 24 September, 2017
Home NATIONALThousands to protest racism across country
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Sat, 24 Sep, 2016 12:04:01 AM
PM, Ministers, Ex-President, trade bodies to participate
Security beefed up as anti-immigrant Orgs to hold agitation
FTimes – STT Report, Sep 24
 
Anti-Racism rally. File Photo Lehtikuva.
Pro and anti-immigrant demonstrations planned for Saturday in different parts of the country in-cluding Helsinki have led the police to beef up security for avoiding any possible confrontation. 
 
Anti-racism demonstrations are expected to pull huge crowds. In Helsinki for instance, 10,000 people have announced their participation in the anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstration 'Peli Poikki' (Stop this Game) demonstration via social media site Facebook.
 
According to the organisers, the goal of the demonstration is to break the silence that enables and fosters racism and violent right-wing extremism in the country.
 
The event aims to bring 140 kilograms of whistles, which by blowing them will symbolise the breach of silence.
 
Besides Helsinki, similar demonstrations will be organised in Tampere, Kuopio and Joensuu.
 
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä will participate in the 'Emme suostu pelkäämään' (We refuse being scared) demonstration in Kuopio.
 
In Helsinki, the demonstration will start from Kansalaistori (Citizen Square) to Senaatintori (Senate Square).
 
Former President Tarja Halonen will speak at the demonstration where Education and Culture Minister  Sanni Grahn-Laasonen and  Interior Minister  Paula Risikko will take part among oth-ers.
 
Different organisations like trade unions including Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK) and trade union confederation of affiliates for highly skilled people (Akava) will also participate in the demonstration and encour-aged the participation in the event.
 
Anti-immigrants rally. File Photo Lehtikuva.
At least Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors-JHL, Metalworkers' Union, Trade Un-ion Pro and Service Union United PAM have encouraged their members to participate in the event.
 
The Helsinki police have prepared for the weekend by summoning additional manpower since there will be two counter demonstrations on Saturday, the other being the anti-immigrants organ-ization 'Rajat kiinni' (Close the borders) planned at the Three Smiths Statue procession at the same time when the anti-racist demonstration will be passing by the statue. The police want the 'Rajat kiinni' to shift the demonstration to Narinkkatori Square.
 
“The location chosen by the 'Rajat kiinni' is not appropriate because the possibility of confronta-tion is obvious,” said police inspector Ismo Juvonen of the Helsinki police department.
 
According to police superintendent Jussi-Pekka Lämsä, the negotiations about the location of the 'Rajat kiinni' demonstration was still open as on Friday early evening. The matter will be revisit-ed on Saturday morning.
 
Lämsä revealed that it is not going to be allowed to have the demonstration at the Three Smiths Statute.
 
Another counter demonstration 'suomalaisvastaisuutta vastaan" (Finns against unconstitutionali-ty) organised by individuals will take place at Citizens' Square.
 
Extremism and racism have been the burning issues in the country during the recent period, par-ticularly the death of a man at Helsinki Railway Square.
 
A passer-by was beaten up outside the Helsinki central railway station where the Finnish Re-sistance Movement (SVL) was holding a demonstration on September 10. The victim succumbed to his injuries at the Helsinki Meilahti hospital on September 16. 
 
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