Helsinki (28.09.2016 – Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish trade union movement backed demonstration against racism and violent right-wing extremism received widespread support. The demonstration in Helsinki at the end of September saw more than 15 000 people come together to make their feelings felt.

Thousands of people gathered in front of the Government House in Helsinki to protest against racism and violence. The demonstration was in reaction to the death of a 26-year-old Finnish man assaulted during a neo-Nazi rally earlier this month.

The Peli poikki (Stop this game) demonstration clearly signaled that people have had enough of racism and extreme right-wing violence. According to the organisers of the demonstration the culture of silence only nurtures those who seek to sow hate.

The neo-Nazi movement, the Finnish Resistance Movement has been able to act relatively  freely in Finland, even though they have been involved in a number of violent incidents.

”The reluctance to condemn or take action against this group by politicians has only  encouraged them and other such movements”, organisers say. Some politicians from the populist right wing Finns Party are even flirting with extreme right wing movements, even though the party is sitting in the Finnish Government.

”No more talk and speeches. We demand that politicians and authorities take racism and racist related violence seriously. We demand action. It is already possible, given the existing legislation, to intervene against racism and violent extremist organisations activities”, organisers say.

The demonstration was organised by a broad group of individuals and organisations without any political or organisational slogans. Similar events were held in other parts of the country, too.

However, the trade union movement strongly supported the action. All three trade union confederations Akava, SAK and STTK encouraged their members to participate. Many other unions did the same.

The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL asked those who cannot join the demonstrations to change their social media profile picture for the Peli poikki logo.

Organisers especially thanked Trade Union Pro and the Service Union United PAM for their practical support in helping to organise the Helsinki demonstration.