More than 15,000 people protested in Helsinki Saturday against racism, while similar demonstrations took place in other cities in Finland after a man died due to an attack by a neo-Nazi last week.
The protesters held signs with peace signs and crossed-out Nazi symbols to protest the violence generated by far-right groups.
“People really feel that there’s not enough talk about racism here. There’s too much denial. We should all speak more against racism, including the leaders,” said a demonstrator who only gave her first name, Rosa.
According to the Guardian, demonstrators said people needed to speak up and stop allowing racism and far-right violence to grow in the country.
Last week, police detained a man who belonged to a far-right movement after an attack against another man in Helsinki who died of the injuries a few days later.
The 26-year-old man, who is part of Finland’s Resistance Movement, was charged with aggravated manslaughter, although he denies being the attacker.
Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila was part of anti-racism rally in the city of Kuopio, where he announced a plan to strengthen laws against extremist groups in the country.
“People are here for a just cause. Actions by violent extremist movements are a worry to the silent majority of the nation,” said Sipila.
Also in the city of Helsinki, a small counter protest against immigrants called “Close the Borders” emerged Saturday . Police said all demonstrations were peaceful.
Close to 32,000 asylum seekers entered Finland in 2015, sparking anti-immigration xenophobia from some, while the government has toughened up its immigration policies against people arriving from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
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