Joona Tuomonen, a man participating in Rajat Kiinni! (Close the Borders!) demonstration, has a mission.
He is to climb on top of the statue of Havis Amanda at the Market Square in Helsinki and plant the national flag at her feet.
It’s late on Saturday afternoon, the wind is breezing from the sea and snowflakes have the potential to blur the vision.
He is surrounded by about a hundred likeminded protesters, who have marched from Narinkkatori under police protection. The group is part of Pegida movement, originating from Germany, fighting against Islam and refugees.
Similar protests are arranged today in 13 cities across Europe, and Helsinki is one of them.
Tuomonen bumps fists with his friends.
He grabs the upper vertical level of the statue. Tries to climb by himself but he has to come down due to the slippery surface.
A friend steps in to help.
He forms a step of the ladder with his hands. Tuomonen is able to jump on the upper level, sideways, face first dipping in the snow.
No matter. He is soon up on his feet and someone passes him the Finnish flag.
He is desperately looking for the location to place the flag. After a few tries he finds a hole at the feet, just behind Amanda’s curvy ass.
The fellow protesters are clapping their hands.
Tuomonen smiles and cheers. He jumps down. Another mission accomplished.
At Narinkkatori, the protesters held speeches and were demanding closing of the borders.
They were referring to the recent rapes highlighted by the media.
“Finland is not to be raped!” the banners screamed loud.
Behind the demonstrators, and behind the wide backs of the police, stood a dozen of protesters, wearing masks and demanding a country free of racism.
Only muffled shouts could be heard.
When the Close the Borders! demonstrators started their march along Mannerheimintie to the Market Square, about ten defendants against racism shouted: “Keep the borders open!” but they were silenced quickly due to the aggressive blocking of police.
When the march reached Southern Esplanade, the opposing group tried to intercept them through the Esplanade Park.
But the police in riot gear and in an armoured car followed them.
In the middle of the Park, the police stepped out.
“Stop! This is the police!”
The masked protesters started running. Fast. They were not to be caught. Not this time. The police observed as they disappeared from the side street leading to Kluuvi.
At the Market Square, the riot police guarded the borders, while Close the Borders! demonstrators cheered and Tuomonen was able to climb on top of Amanda.
After the demonstration, a guy approached me from behind my back.
He pulled out a card that said “racist.”
“This is a sad situation,” he said and introduced himself as Markku from Turenki.
“The march looked pretty sad,” I said.
Markku talked about living in Sweden in the ’90s and seeing how the immigrants destroyed the country.
“Pretty harsh,” I said.
“The decision makers in Finland should be given the boot,” he said.
“I see . . .”
There was no point in advertising the beauty of multiculturality to this guy.
It was too late.