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Up to 100,000 revelers ring in 2017 in downtown Helsinki

Police in Helsinki report that in spite of jitters about public security, there were no untoward incidents as a massive crowd of up to 100,000 converged on the capital for New Year and centennial celebrations Saturday night.

Kansalaistorilla paljon ihmisiä kuuntelemassa konserttia.
Tens of thousands converged on Citizen's Square for New Year's Eve and centennial celebrations. Image: Yle

Downtown Helsinki was ground zero for New Year’s Eve celebrations Saturday night. The festivities coincided with observances to mark the start of Finland’s centennial year of independence.

Dubbed "the party of the century" by city officials, entertainment kicked off as early as noon and eventually fizzled out at around 1.00am at Citizen’s Square, in the city centre.

In between that, there were family events, street parties, a warm-up event for the main celebration and an after-party.

Apart a from fireworks display estimated to cost 40,000 euros, one of the evening’s highlights was an appearance by the country’s newest darling in entertainment circles, X-Factor runner-up, Saara Aalto.

Taking to the stage at just after 11.00 pm, Aalto effectively emptied main street Mannerheimintie of revelers as fans flocked to follow her performance of pop star Sia’s song, Chandelier.

Police: No major offences

According to police the entire day of celebrations passed off for the most part peacefully, in spite of lingering security concerns caused by a truck attack on a crowded marketplace in Berlin earlier in December.

However, there were a number of entries for minor offences recorded in the police blotter, including 62 assaults, 90 acts of vandalism, 38 domestic calls, 71 drunk cases and a handful of sexual offences.

Altogether, police registered 416 calls, up from 348 the previous year.

Meanwhile medical professionals at Helsinki’s Meilahti eye clinic reported that two people had to be treated for injuries sustained during the festivities. Otherwise, officials at the hospital said that the evening passed off quietly.

Meanwhile Oulu’s university hospital said that it treated three people for eye injuries caused by fireworks.

Edit 10.30 am: Updated to include data on police calls.

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