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Up to ten Independence Day demonstrations expected

Hundreds of police officers will be patrolling Helsinki on Tuesday during Independence Day, as groups including the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement have announced that they will marching through the city centre. Counter-demonstrators have also announced their intent to peacefully march in protest against the neo-Nazis.

Image: AOP

Helsinki Police say they have received notifications of at least ten different marches, gatherings or protests to be held on this year's Independence Day, which is slightly up from last year.

Police are prepared for the Hakaniemi Square gathering of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement and the Helsinki Without Nazis counter-demonstration.

Those opposing the neo-Nazi group will gather in the afternoon at the Helsinki Central Railway Station and head towards Senate Square. About 1,600 people have signed up for the event on Facebook, which is being organised by the Varisverkosto, an anti-fascist group, the anarchist A-rhymä, and Helsinki’s youth wing of the Left Alliance. Their goal is to stop the Resistance Movement’s march by peacefully taking over the streets where the neo-Nazis are marching.

Police in dialogue with both sides

The police’s goal is to ensure that everything goes smoothly without any potential conflict taking place between the different groups.

“We have been in dialogue with both sides, which decreases the risk,” says chief inspector Seppo Kujala of the Helsinki Police.

The Nordic Resistance Movement’s march will head to the J.V. Snellman statue in Kruununhaka, which is just a stone’s throw from their destination, Senate Square.

“The police tactic is to be between (the two groups) so that nothing surprising is able to happen,” says Kujala.

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