Protesters against neo-Nazis did their best to stop a nationalistic torchlight procession.
FINLAND’S 106TH INDEPENDENCE DAY was celebrated in beautiful sunny winter weather, but after the sun went down, the word “vittu” or “vittuun” became the most repeated word of the evening on the streets of downtown Helsinki. Those who don’t know what the most famous Finnish swear word means should look it up.
So it just happened that a few hundred nationalists gathered at the place where they have been gathering for years: Töölöntori (Töölö Market Square).
This was not acceptable to the Helsinki Without Nazis demonstrators, who for years have been trying to disrupt or disturb the peaceful torchlight procession from the sidelines on the route of the procession to the Hietaniemi cemetery, where the torch will find its final resting place.
But when the counter-demonstrators on that Wednesday shouted that there were “Nazis” involved in the march, they may have been right … the march is open to anyone who is nationalistic, but the fact is: if a neo-Nazi decides to join such a march, it’s hard to tell who he or she is before it’s too late.
Anyway, this year the police had decided not to allow the anti-Nazi demonstrators to use Töölöntori as a protest site because it had already been reserved by the 612 torchlight procession.
As a result, the Helsinki Without Nazis protesters tried to take over Töölöntori in the early evening, but without success. 54 were arrested and taken by bus to a police prison on the outskirts of the city.
The rest were blocked off in a side alley near the square.
But as the march began, an anti-Nazi demonstrator emerged from here and there to shout profanities and provoke.
Watch our video to get an idea of what happened.