About one thousand people staged a demonstration in Helsinki, Finland on Friday evening protesting against the activities of the five-party alliance government, particularly the fiscal adjustment decision of cutting expenditures.
Police used pepper spray on people to reinforce their barrier and stop the approach on the parliament building.
Demonstrators brought out a procession from the House of Estates and headed towards Aleksanterinkatu through Mannerheimintie and finally reached the Parliament House.
The event was launched by several groups on social media under the slogan “Nyt Saa Riittää!” (“Enough is Enough!”). According to one invitation on Facebook, it was a “non-racist” and “politically non-aligned” expression of “dissatisfaction with the country’s current political state”, warning that budget-cutting policies are “undermining the welfare state”.
The demonstration started at 17:00 pm and was held peacefully until the protestors reached a ‘restricted area’ and stepped up the stairs in front of the parliament building.
The police began to use tear gas to keep people from the Parliament building and the march ended around 20:00 local time (1700 GMT). The demonstration appeared to be one of the fiercest in recent Finnish history.
People agitated in front of parliament protesting government policies on various issues including cutting expenditure. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The Finnish government reached a structural reform scheme in August last year, aiming to tackle the “sustainability gap” in the state budget. The reform included cutting government spending, reducing family benefits, raising the effective retirement age and others.
Last month, the government decided to launch a further cost-saving package to cut a total of 2.3 billion euros (about 3.17 billion US dollars) by 2018, including slashes of child benefit and earnings-related unemployment security payments.