Thousands of Finns March in Anti-Racism Protest

Thousands of Finns March in Anti-Racism ProtestThousands of Finns March in Anti-Racism Protest

Around 15,000 people gathered in Helsinki to protest against racism and violent rightwing extremism. The protests were sparked by the death of a man who was reportedly attacked by a neo-Nazi group.

Finland's premier and a former president joined thousands of people across Finland on Saturday as part of demonstrations against violence, racism and fascism.

In Helsinki, police tweeted that around 15,000 people were taking part in the protest there, while thousands of others attended similar demonstrations in other Finnish cities, DPA reported.

"People are coming out for the right reason, because the rise of violent extremism is a concern to the large majority of Finns," Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila told Finnish radio YLE.

Sipila joined a march in the central town of Kuopio and vowed that the government will soon introduce new measures to tackle the problem of extremist groups.

Participants in Helsinki wound through the Finnish capital blowing whistles and carrying green balloons as well as signs which read: "No to Nazism."

Smaller counterdemonstrations with the slogan "Close borders!" were also held in the city, but police separated the two groups and reported no clashes.

The original protest in Helsinki was organized by a Facebook group under the slogan of "Enough is enough" following the high-profile killing of 28-year-old Jimi Karttunen.