The police estimated that over 3,000 people joined the demonstration that aimed to raise awareness of racism in Finland.
”I am speechless. I am very proud. So many people attended,” said Andrea Moukoko, 19, one of the organizers of the Black Lives Matter protest at the Senate Square in Helsinki Wednesday.
The police estimated that over 3,000 people joined the demonstration that aimed to raise awareness of racism in Finland, which, according to Moukoko, exists hidden from the public eye. The protest was part of the bigger movement against racism, sparked by the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer in the U.S.
“I am in shock that so many people attended,” Andrea said. “Even the police were surprised by the number of attendants, and so they were like ‘we have to stop the protest a bit earlier’.”
The demonstration began at 17:00 with speakers including artists, people promoting Afro hair care, politicians and more. Many of the crowd wore masks and, according to Moukoko, “there were more white than black people.”
(Below a drone picture of the demonstration published by the Helsinki Police Department. The story continues after the picture.)
Moukoko said that they had to wrap things up around 19:00—about two hours after they began. The protest was supposed to continue until 21:00.
“The police thought that it’s best to stop so that things don’t get out of hands,” Moukoko said. By that, the police were referring to the government’s regulations on public gatherings to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus. Currently, 50 people are generally allowed to summon, and 500 people would be the maximum if everybody followed the restrictions and would be able to maintain proper social distance.
“Nevertheless,” Moukoko said, “I am so very proud of everything. I am so very proud of Finland!”
Featured image on the front page: @Jori Grönroos