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Demonstrations marking Turku terrorist attack pass off peacefully

Far-right and anti-Nazi demonstrators marched in Turku on Sunday.

The 2017 stabbing attack was the first crime classified as terrorism by a Finnish court. Image: Johanna Manu / Yle

A demonstration by far-right nationalists and a counter-demonstration by an anti-Nazi group marking the two-year anniversary of the Turku knife attack passed off peacefully in the southwestern city on Sunday. Police did not take any demonstrators into custody -- in contrast to last year's event when officials apprehended 11 protesters.

Two years ago, on 18 August 2017, Abderrahman Bouanane, a rejected asylum seeker from Morocco, stabbed ten people in Turku's market square, killing two victims. He is serving a life sentence for the crimes.

Some 250 people marched in the far-right Nationalists' Alliance procession, dubbed the "188 Flower Stream", while twice as many participants joined the "Turku Without Nazis" counter-demonstration.

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Image: Andy Ödman / Yle

Following the "188 Flower Stream's" moment of silence, Finns Party MP Vilhelm Junnila emerged to give a speech calling for the city of Turku to commemorate the victims of the attack by illuminating the Kirjastosilta bridge in Finnish flag colours every August 18th.

The "Turku Without Nazis" counter-demonstration rallied against the nationalists' presence, saying the far-right group was using the anniversary of the attack to promote its own agenda.

Story continues after photos.

Image: Paula Collin / Yle
Image: Paula Collin / Yle

Amid fears of violence, the South-west Finland Police Department monitored the marches by car, motorcycle, boat as well as on foot.