Fresh off last weekend’s attack on two immigrants in Oulu, hundreds of people marched for tolerance in the city on Friday. The procession culminated with Imam Abdul Mannan presenting a plea for peace to mayor Matti Pennanen.
Saturday’s deadly pizzeria shooting in the city left one Moroccan man dead and another seriously injured.
Demonstrators called on Oulu decision makers and police to promote tolerance in the community. They also want officials to step up efforts to make the city more secure for immigrants as well as the native Finnish population.
This latest racially-flavoured incident has been a pause for reflection for inhabitants, as it was preceded by two other violent acts involving foreigners.
Earlier this winter a newspaper deliveryman sustained serious injuries when he fled a hostile situation by jumping from a balcony. A similar situation occurred a few weeks later when a young man died after falling from the sixth floor when trying to flee a bad situation. While police say neither event was the direct result of xenophobia, altercations with Finns preceded both incidents.
Online debates on racism in Finland have raged since a local Finns Party councilman praised last week’s pizzeria shooter. Finns party leader, Timo Soini, said the man was likely to be expelled over the comment.
A similar procession was held in Helsinki on Friday, moving from the Central Railway Station to the Parliament House.