FINLAND – Some 100,000 people flocked to the Senate Square in Helsinki on Saturday for Helsinki Pride, an annual march promoting LGBTQ rights and community spirit. That many people have never before taken part in Helsinki’s version of the march.
Organised by human rights organisation Heseta, the march began at 1 pm and made its way through the city centre to Kaivopuisto park some two kilometres away by the sea. Police say the whole event featured no incidents, although changes to traffic were imposed in certain areas until 4 pm.
“Clearly more marchers this year than before,” Helsinki police tweeted on Saturday. In fact attendance figures nearly tripled from the estimated 35,000 people that police say has remained a fairly steady number in recent years, until now.
The march concluded in the traditional outdoor Party in the Park in Kaivopuisto, which featured many speakers, DJs, performers and sponsors. Numerous politicians across party lines also tweeted and published photos of the march.
This year particularly many sports associations – from horse riding and badminton to judo and boxing – gave their support to Helsinki Pride, which lasts from 25 June to 1 July.
Singer Saara Aalto has participated in many Pride events worldwide, and told Yle she wants to continue working for people’s right to love.
“I’m so grateful to all the people in my life who have given me the opportunity to become who I am,” said Aalto, who showed up in a large truck fitted with a dance stage. “Love is the most important thing!”
The final event of Pride week is Saturday’s party at Hernesaarenranta, headlined by trans pop icon Dana International, pop star Zühlke, indie rock band Fresh Tides, YouTuber and singer Tuure Boelius and Jytää ja Iskelmää DJ.