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Day of demos: Police present, live Yle broadcast

Today Saturday several demonstrations are taking place in Helsinki, and dozens of police units are in attendance around the city. Some ten thousand people are set to attend the anti-racist "Peli poikki" march. An anti-immigration protest is also being held. Watch the live video broadcast of the anti-racist march here.

Peli poikki - rikotaan hiljaisuus -mielenosoitus rasismia vastaan

Today Saturday Helsinki becomes the stage for a number of gatherings, marches and demonstrations.

Some 10,000 people are expected to attend the "Peli poikki" ("Stop this game") march from 12 pm to 3 pm, which winds its way through the city centre from the Citizens' Square by the Music Centre along Mannerheimintie and Aleksanterinkatu to the Senate Square.

Similar demos are also being held in other Finnish cities. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä attended one of the events in Kuopio.

Counter-demonstrations are also to occur in Helsinki. The "Rajat kiinni" ("Close the borders") group is holding an anti-immigration protest at the Three Smiths Statue – directly on the route of the anti-racist "Peli poikki" march.

"We've been in contact with the Rajat kiinni group since Thursday," says inspector Ismo Juvonen from the Helsinki police. "Obviously their demonstration can't take place at the statue, because altercations are bound to arise."

The anti-immigration group has refused to change the location of their protest. Police have suggested the Narinkka Square in Kamppi as their location.

The Assembly Act states that police can move a demonstration to a different location.

Multiple events

The Senate Square is also the starting point for another march staged by the "Aito avioliitto" group in protest to the same-sex marriage law. The "Peli poikki" march against racism, fascism and violence will reach the square before the "Aito avioliitto" demo begins.

The third march of the day starts from the Narinkka Square at 4 pm and ends some hours later at Karhupuisto park. The demonstration, "Näpit irti Rojovasta", is held in support of the Kurdistan area in northern Syria and is organised by the Left Youth and Finland's Kurds.

Organisers say that the "Peli poikki" demonstration is in response to the assault and death of a young man allegedly by a neo-Nazi at Helsinki's Central Railway Station two weeks ago.

Dozens of police are present at the protests. No reinforcements have had to be called in from outlying police districts.

The "Peli poikki" demonstration is organised collectively by private citizens and numerous human rights groups and NGOs.

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