Several thousands of people on Sunday held a demonstration in Helsinki protesting against racism and criticized the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP) led four-party alliance government for its policies in this regard.
People from different strata gathered at Senate Square at about 1:00 pm with the slogan “Me emme vaikene (We don't keep silent)” and held a procession toward Töölönlahti Park where they held a rally.
Police estimated that about 10,000 to 11,000 people participated in the demonstration.
About 100 organisations including cultural, social, political and human rights bodies extended their support to the demonstration and strongly criticized the anti-immigration policy taken by the government and racist slurs made by some ministers of the radical rightist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the second largest component of the alliance government.
The protesters demanded a government that respects the constitution, which not only renounces racism, but also implements anti-racist policies that promote the well-being and equal opportunities of everyone living in Finland.
"The government's promised 'zero tolerance for racism' has not been realized, at least until now. Speeches are actions, and racist speech builds a racist Finland,” said the demonstrators in a press release, quoting doctoral researcher Elina Sagne-Ollikainen, one of the organizers of the demonstration as saying.
The organizers of the demonstration appealed to all parties that respect equality, peace, non-violence and human rights to create a better and fairer Finland together.
Earlier on August 25, several hundreds of people went on demonstrations in Helsinki in protest at the move of the four-party alliance right wing government of tightening the immigration policy.
Separate demonstrations were also held in Helsinki on June 27 and June 18 protesting against the immigration policy taken by the government.
The government on August 31 adopted a statement to Parliament on measures to promote equality, gender equality and non-discrimination in Finnish society amidst widespread controversy raised over racial, apparently violent and anti-immigrant comments made by Finance Minister and Chairperson of the radical rightist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) Riikka Purra.
Earlier on June 30, another Perussuomalaiset leader and Minister of Economic Affairs Vilhelm Junnila decided to resign following the controversy raised over his links to far-right groups.
Another minister Wille Rydman made the remarks in text messages sent to his former dating partner when he was a lawmaker of the conservative Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP), the main component of the alliance.