Helsinki city officials have announced plans to clear makeshift protest camps near the Central Railway Station to make way for a variety of events to take place this summer. They said that the space has been rented out to event organizers for the entire season.
As a result, two camps will have to be relocated by May 22, meaning that the pro-asylum seeker group "Right to Live" and nationalist "Finland First" demonstrators will have to dismantle their encampments.
"The rental agreements for the plaza had been signed well before the demonstrators pitched camp. The city is upholding the agreements," city public works manager responsible for land use Timo Korhonen said in a statement.
The statement added that it would no longer be possible to stage demonstrations in the railway station square because the entire area will be in use.
This summer, members of the public can look forward to events such as the World Village Festival, which takes place from May 27-28, a Defence Forces parade from June 3-4, and a car show on July 1.
The city noted that there are many other areas that are suitable for demonstrators to set up camp and said that it had forwarded a list of plazas and park areas and their reservation status to NGOs.