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Convoy Finland protest to continue until Sunday

A few dozen demonstrators were still on hand across the street from Parliament on Wednesday when the protest was originally scheduled to end.

Convoy Finland -nimellä kulkeva liike järjesti perjantaina 4. helmikuuta mielenilmauksen Helsingin keskustassa.
Protesters during the Convoy Finland demonstration on Friday 4 February 2022. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The Convoy Finland 2022 movement brought protesters to Helsinki on Friday with a list of demands calling for an end to Covid mandates, cheaper petrol and diesel fuel and the resignation of the government.

The crowd of hundreds of people who blocked traffic in front on Parliament on Friday and Saturday had shrunk to a few dozen demonstrators by Wednesday, which had originally been announced as the final day of the protest.

Demonstrators gathered at Helsinki's Citizens' Square told media that they now plan to stay on until Sunday.

Helsinki Police Chief Superintendent Heikki Porola told Yle the authorities are aware of the possible continuation of the protest, but no official announcement had been made.

Police described the continuing demonstration, which included a procession of cars and vans along the city's main thoroughfare, as "orderly".

Movement in disarray

On Friday and Saturday, police detained a total of some 70 protesters outside Parliament and had cars towed that had been blocking traffic.

The demonstration quickly wound down, with only a handful of individuals on hand and an orderly procession of some 15 cars and vans taking part by Sunday evening.

Disagreements and in-fighting between different factions of the movement led to the group splitting in two.

Conversations between protest participants on the messaging app Telegram, seen by Yle, revealed disappointment with the organisation of the event, confusion caused by conflicting messages and criticism of the widespread drinking during the protests.

The disputes led to the creation on Telegram of a new group called "Convoy Finland 2022 2.0". Annika Leino, a doctor who founded the group that organised the weekend's protest, is not a member of the new group, informing Yle via Telegram that her access to the 2.0 group has been blocked.

There was continuing confusing about who was heading up the continuing demonstration.

Helsinki police declined to disclose any information about the formal organiser of the weekend protests, citing privacy legislation.

According to the Helsinki police communications office, the organiser of the demonstration was a private individual. However, police say that under the terms of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities the organiser of a protest can be named only if it is an organisation, association or other legal entity.

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