The organizers hope to fight against “a culture of silence” in the face of racist violence, according to their press release.
More than 15,000 people protested in Helsinki Saturday against racism, while similar demonstrations took place in other cities in Finland after a man died due to an attack by a neo-Nazi last week.
The protesters held signs with peace signs and crossed-out Nazi symbols to protest the violence generated by far-right groups.
“People really feel that there’s not enough talk about racism here. There’s too much denial. We should all speak more against racism, including the leaders,” said a demonstrator who only gave her first name, Rosa.
According to the Guardian, demonstrators said people needed to speak up and stop allowing racism and far-right violence to grow in the country.
Last week, police detained a man who belonged to a far-right movement after an attack against another man in Helsinki who died of the injuries a few days later.
The 26-year-old man, who is part of Finland’s Resistance Movement, was charged with aggravated manslaughter, although he denies being the attacker.
Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila was part of anti-racism rally in the city of Kuopio, where he announced a plan to strengthen laws against extremist groups in the country.
“People are here for a just cause. Actions by violent extremist movements are a worry to the silent majority of the nation,” said Sipila.
Also in the city of Helsinki, a small counter protest against immigrants called “Close the Borders” emerged Saturday . Police said all demonstrations were peaceful.
Close to 32,000 asylum seekers entered Finland in 2015, sparking anti-immigration xenophobia from some, while the government has toughened up its immigration policies against people arriving from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.