Several hundreds of people staged a lie-in demonstration in front of the Parliament Building on Saturday afternoon protesting against the government´s programme to cut benefits of the poor and low-income people.
Terming the cuts undertook by the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) led four-party government as inhumane, the demonstrators demanded withdrawal of the cutting plan as it will further weaken the livelihood and living conditions of the vulnerable people.
Organised under the banner of Makuupaikka2023, participants of the demonstration said that the proposed cuts disproportionately would affect long-term sick, disabled, and poor individuals.
The protest started at 3:00pm where the participants performed music in addition to making speeches to press home their demands and at certain stage they laid down on the lawn of the Parliament building ground.
The protest ended at about 6:00 pm.
Minimum subsistence cannot be cut; on the contrary, it must be increased. When deciding on people's livelihoods, the voices of healthcare professionals and experts who understand poverty and disadvantage must be heard, said the organisers in a press release.
“The funding for long-underfunded social and healthcare services, including mental health services, must be increased. Not a cent can be cut from the social and healthcare reform,” the press release added.
"I have been living on basic income support for years, as all other benefits have been denied to me. If the basic income support runs out, I will become homeless. Full-time work is not an option for me, and this has been proven by a psychiatrist, therapist, rehabilitation coordinator, social worker, doctor, psychologist, and neuropsychiatric trainer, but the doctor from Kela (Social Insurance Institution of Finland) thinks differently as they repeatedly reject my applications," said the press release, quoting a 45-year-old woman participating in the protest as saying.
Leaders of the conservative Kokoomus, radical rightist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), Suomenruotsalainenkansanpuolue (Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP) and the SuomenKristillisdemokraatit (Christian Democrats of Finland-CD) on June 16, 2023 published the program of the alliance government with the view to reshape economy.
The cuts include €2.05 billion in social and healthcare services and €1.2 billion in social security and benefits.
Leaders of the opposition parties strongly criticized the government for bringing the basic sectors under the austerity measures.