In a rarely seen occasion, the leaders of Finland’s political parties today joined in a collective speech at the Parliament to observe the start of the Finnish civil war 100 years ago.
Prime minister Juha Sipilä began the speech, which was subsequently followed by the eight other party leaders who each read an excerpt. The party chairs said that by making an appearance together they wanted to emphasise the meaning of reconciliation, democracy, social equality and unity.
"These are the values that create the base, on which our Finland has been built," said Petteri Orpo from the National Coalition.
The speech condemned political violence in all of its forms. “No end justifies the use of violence in political activity or a drive towards a social goal," said Li Andersson of the Left Alliance.
The speakers also pointed out that the diversity of political views and the freedom of opinion belong to the Finnish democracy.
“It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that Finns do not ever again have to experience such hate and horror,” said Sari Essayah from the Christian Democrats in conclusion.
After the speech, a moment of silence was observed. The guests invited to the event organised by the Prime Minister’s Office included politicians, civil war researchers and representatives of youth associations.