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May Day festivities pass off mostly peacefully

The spring festival is more low-key than usual this year.

Opiskelijoita Kaivopuistossa.
May Day is known as Vappu in Finland, and is traditionally a carnival of outdoor exuberance punctuated by often-rainy picnics. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle
Yle News

Finland's rowdy May Day celebrations were quieter than normal this year, thanks to authorities urging people not to gather in large crowds to avoid the risk of Covid transmission.

In Helsinki, police cleared the Kaivopuisto park late on Friday evening as crowds became more disorderly when night fell. Some bottles had been thrown, according to the police Twitter account.

People were urged to stay away from central Helsinki on May Day, which is traditionally thronged with crowds to celebrate 'Vappu'.

In Turku and Tampere crowds also gathered in the city centre overnight, but south-west Finland police said around 2am that the night had gone relatively peacefully.

The central Finland police department, which is centred on Tampere, said that the number of domestic callouts had increased.

Two years ago domestic incidents on May Day eve in the district had numbered 26, whereas this year they had totalled 84.

That's only the tip of the iceberg, according to Chief Inspector Jari Lindholm, citing research that showed only around one in ten domestic incidents came to the attention of police.

"People's tolerance for noise and the rest has grown, for some reason," said Lindholm. "People don't call the emergency services. We can only guess at the true number."

He said total callouts were around 200 more than last weekend in his district, which includes the cities of Tampere and Jyväskylä.

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