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Vappu Day observed virtually, digitally without gathering

Published : 02 May 2020, 00:41

Updated : 02 May 2020, 11:32

  DF Report

People enjoy their time at Kaivo Park amid COVID-19 pandemic in Helsinki, Finland, on May 1, 2020. Photo Xinhua by Zhu Haochen.

The International Workers’ Day, widely known as May Day, commemorating the 1886 uprising of Chicago workers to establish their rights was observed on Friday in the country virtually and digitally without gathering.

All outdoor programmes marking the May Day, locally known as Vappu, were suspended owing to the state of emergency imposed following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual and digital May Day programme organised by the City of Helsinki has attracted many viewers online. An estimate of 700 000 watched the virtual crowning of Manta and JVG’s gig on different channels on Vappu Eve. said a press release issued by the City of Helsinki.

Vappu Eve was kicked off with the virtual crowning of the Havis Amanda statue.

The live show was followed on more than 460 000 devices. Moreover, the concert was shown live on the national MTV news which made the number of viewers momentarily exceed one million. It was thus the biggest online event ever organised in Finland.

Also the rest of Helsinki’s digital Vappu Eve programme received a large audience. For instance, the concert of the a cappella -group Club for Five in Savoy theatre was followed by approximately 17 500 viewers.

According to information reported by the police departments, this May Day has been one of the quietest in Finnish history, said a press release issued by the National Police Board.

Public places have been notably empty of people, and those that did go out have mostly done so in small groups. No public events or meetings, forbidden during the emergency conditions, have been found in the areas of any police department so far. Restaurants have also complied with the restrictions.

The police have dispersed some isolated gatherings in public places with advice and requests. Only a few gatherings were broken up by virtue of the Public Order Act.

”Based on the information we have received, the number of emergency calls has been extremely low in comparison to last year. The figures are very low for May Day. Exceptionally for May Day, most emergency calls have been domestic, primarily about noise and disturbances”, said Ari Järvenpää, Chief Superintendent of the National Police Board.

Citizens have complied with the emergency restrictions and the authorities’ recommendations to spend May Day at home in exemplary fashion on both May Day Eve and May Day.

May 1 was adopted as International Workers’ Day by socialist delegates in Paris in 1889. More than 400 delegates met in Paris on the centenary of the French revolution at the Marxist International Socialist Congress, the founding meeting of the Second International.

The 1889 resolution called for a one-time demonstration, but it became an annual event in the course of time. May Day was celebrated in Russia, Brazil and Ireland first in 1891.