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Tony Öhberg

Picture: #Suomisayswelcome

On Saturday afternoon, Finland is welcoming the refugees with a solidarity picnic of a massive scale.

“We want the world to know that we are happy to welcome refugees. We don’t want any more people to die while trying to make their way to Europe. We demand that they have safe and legal routes to protection, and ensure that they are treated humanely,” the arrangers said in a bulletin.

A picnic, where about 10,000 people are expected to join, starts at Kansalaistori (Citzens’ Square) in Helsinki at 15:00.

The arrangers encourage attendees to grab blankets and bring their picnic baskets, relax and mingle, and listen to some of the Finnish front row artists performing. The list of performers include Scandinavian Music Group, Nicole Willis & Jimi Tenor, Gracias, Laura Voutilainen and Maarit and Sami Hurmerinta. Speeches and food are also included in the program.

If one is unable to attend, people are encouraged to arrange their own picnics in their local towns and cities.

The event, carrying hashtags #suomisayswelcome and #europesayswelcome, is a part of the international #EuropeSaysWelcome movement.

“We want to live in a country that opens its doors to those in need. We have the space, the resources and, above all, the will to help,” the arrangers said.

“On September 14th, our minister of the interior, Petteri Orpo, will be attending an EU meeting for emergency talks on Europe’s escalating refugee crisis. We want to show our solidarity and to demand sustainable, human-centred solutions to this global emergency.”