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Thousands gather to support asylum seekers at Helsinki’s Railway Square

Demonstrations on Saturday supporting and opposing asylum seekers have been peaceful. An estimated two thousand people gathered at the Railway Square in central Helsinki.

Uutisvideot: Rautatientorin mielenosoitus

Police estimate the demonstration and concert supporting asylum seekers, as well as counter-demonstrations have attracted around two thousand people to the Railway Square in central Helsinki.

The demonstrations started at 3 pm, the support concert at 4 pm.

”The square is completely packed with people, apart from the skating rink in the middle. Both sides of the rink are surrounded by approximately two thousand people,” reported Superintendent Jari Taponen to Yle.

The majority of the crowd had showed up to support asylum seekers.

One person apprehended, otherwise calm

Taponen said the overall situation seemed peaceful, especially on the south side of the square where those supporting asylum seekers have gathered.

”The counter-protesters are in the northern end of the square. They have held speeches and had some arguments”, Taponen said.

The Helsinki Police Department has taken extra precautions to avoid clashes between two groups of demonstrators, and has requested additional forces from neighbouring police departments.

One person has been apprehended so far. According to police, the man in question was taken into custody after acting aggressively.

The support concert for asylum seekers is scheduled to end by 8 pm.

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