The peaceful demonstration began at 4pm on Saturday, drawing as many as 1,000 participants to Turku’s central market square.
By contrast, several days ago the Finns Party announced the cancellation of its own marketplace event, claiming fear of harassment. This public rally, at least, provided little cause for alarm.
According to Yle’s Turku-based reporter Minna Rosvall the atmosphere at the event was positive and non-threatening. According to reports, many overseers were present to ensure the orderly nature of the rally, and Turku’s multicultural immigrant population was well represented.
Soini condemns hate speech in party address
Meanwhile, behind closed doors in the same city, the Finns Party was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
At the party congress, leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini was also willing to say a few words on what is currently a hot topic – in his main address, Soini condemned hate speech and said that extremists have no place in the party.
In the same speech he congratulated loyalists on the success of the party, referring to it as “Finnish politics’ greatest success story.”
The leader’s address comes amidst heavy scrutiny on the populist party for a perceived failure to penalize party MPs for racists outbursts or irresponsible behaviour.
The Turku rally was related to the much larger scale “We have a Dream” demonstration. Sparked by Finns MP Olli Immonen’s social media call to arms against multiculturalism, that rally drew more than 15,000 people in Helsinki over a week ago.
Meanwhile, another rally is slated for Wednesday in Jyväskylä, the site of a recent riot by members of a neo-Nazi group with whom Immonen posed for a photo in June.