Pride procession in Helsinki
The Helsinki Pride festival, an event devoted to celebrating the rights of sexual minorities, culminated in a carnival-like procession through the streets of Helsinki Saturday. Police estimate that about 5,000 people participated in the procession.
The march kicked off at 1.00 pm from the Senate Square in downtown Helsinki and proceeded along Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie to the Hakasalmi Park.
The parade was slightly marred by a small skirmish, in which bystanders attacked members of the procession with pepper spray. The incident took place at the corner of Aleksanterinkatu and Kluuvinkatu. Police held three men in their thirties in connection with the incident.
It’s not known how many marchers were affected by the spray however it seems that no serious injuries were reported. Police are calling on anyone affected by the spraying incident to report the matter to Helsinki police.
The Pride festival was launched last Monday, and this year its 60 individual events topped the energy of previous years’ efforts. However, over the years, the celebration has gathered thousands of supporters.
The purpose of the Pride celebrations is to highlight the rights and culture of Finland’s sexual minorities. This year, the Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb was patron of the festival. SourceGas Attack on Pride Parade "Premeditated"
Helsinki police took three young men into custody on Saturday suspected of launching a pepper spray attack at the Helsinki Pride festival. Officers are also looking for 2 to 5 other individuals suspected of participating in the assault.
Over 30 people were hit by the spray. No one was seriously injured, however, some of the victims were children.
Helsinki police officer Kari Aaltio said that the attack seemed to be meticulously planned.
“First the perpetrators released smoke over the parade. Then they went around the block and attacked parade participants with the spray. At least two types of gases were used. The perpetrators were dressed in black.”
Police are still looking for several other perpetrators. The suspects come from outside of Helsinki and are Finns. Police are trying to determine if they belong to a larger group.
The men have denied the accusations. They will be kept in custody until at least Tuesday.
An estimated 2,500 people took part in the parade which celebrates gay and lesbian culture. SourceI'm currently in Madrid and attended Madrid pride (which was awesome) but the news from home made me kinda D: I feel we should be better than this. The one positive thing is that the patron for the pride is from a rightwing party :D (still left from US democrats tho)