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Halonen Speaks Out against Pride Attack

President Tarja Halonen has condemned the pepper spray attack at the Helsinki Pride festival last Saturday. She said the incident was a blow to Finland's reputation as a tolerant country.

Presidentti Tarja Halonen
Image: Yle

“This is a very unfortunate situation for those participating in the parade and for Finns. We are accustomed to respecting people's differences, both morally and of course under the law.”

“Many countries put on a Pride festival. Finland had a good reputation in the past. Now it’s been delivered a harsh blow. This incident could result in the kind of brand we don't want,” she added.

Premeditated Attack

Halonen also expressed concern for the parade’s participants.

”It has taken decades of work for them to believe that we are on the side of human rights, and we value individuals' rights to choose their sexual orientation,” she said.

“Hopefully, society will react strongly to this situation. The fact that the attack was premeditated makes it even more serious. It shows that people don’t do these kinds of things in the heat of the moment.”

Police have taken three young men into custody in connection with the attack and are looking for three others. Officers are to decide on Tuesday whether to release the suspects or press charges.

Gas Attack on Pride Parade "Premeditated"

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