A Mass Protest Against Racism And Neo-Nazi Organizations Kicks Off On Saturday in Helsinki

A man laying down roses for the memory of Jimi Karttunen at the Helsinki railway station. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A man laying down roses for the memory of Jimi Karttunen at the Helsinki railway station. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

If the signs are right, a demonstration against racism and fascism will gather tens of thousands of people to Kansalaistori in Helsinki on Saturday noon, September 24th. Over seven thousand people have already pushed the “going” button on Facebook, and the number seems to be growing while typing this article.

The protest titled, Peli Poikki! – Rikotaan hiljaisuus (Stop This Game! – Let’s Break the Silence), aims to break the silence in the Finnish society, which according to the organizers “enables and fosters racism and violent right-wing extremism in Finland.” “During the last few years, a culture of silence and hushing that has nurtured the growth of fascism and racism has prevailed in Finland.” Violent right-wing extremism has grown stronger and one brave soul that dared to challenge it, has paid the price with his life,” the invitation of the protest says on Facebook.

The spark for the protest was ignited by the attack against Jimi Karttunen, 28, during a demonstration of the Finnish neo-Nazi organization, Finnish Resistance Movement SVL, almost two weeks ago. The victim died of cerebral hemorrhage later. (Read our story here.)

The event is organized by a coalition of private individuals, event producers, activists, entrepreneurs and reporters across political affiliations and outside the political sphere.

According to the organizers, SVL has been allowed to commit violent crimes over the years, and the “reluctance to condemn or take action by the politicians has encouraged them and other similar movements.”

The demonstration demands that Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko and the Finnish police force will take action towards banning the existence of extreme right-wing organizations.

The people joining the protest will summon at Kansalaistori (Citizens’ Square) at 12:00 on Saturday, September 24, from where the protester will continue marching to the Senate Square. The event is scheduled to last until 15:00 in the afternoon.