Monday May 20, 2024

Independence Day observed amidst festivity, joy

Published : 07 Dec 2023, 02:57

  DF Report
President Sauli Niinistö and First Lady Jenni Haukio were dancing during the Independence Day reception at the presidential palace on Wednesday. Photo: President Office by Matti Porre.

The nation celebrated the country’s 106th independence on Wednesday amidst festivity and joy and showing due respect to the war veterans almost peacefully excepting a few sporadic incidents of demonstrations.

The main celebration took place at the presidential palace in the traditional way where President Sauli Niinistö and First Lady Jenni Haukio accorded reception to hundreds of guests including senior citizens, professionals, cultural activists, diplomats and people from different strata of the society.

About 1,700 guests were invited to the celebrations which also commemorated Finnish cultural markers for many years. The theme of this year´s reception party is “changing times”.

Meanwhile, different groups including extremist far-right 612 and anti-extremists held four separate demonstrations in the capital during the celebration.

Police arrested a total of 68 people from different areas during the demonstrations, Helsinki police wrote in a twitter post on social media platform X late Wednesday night.

A far-right procession under the banner “Suomi herää” (Awaken, Finland) started from Helsinki Central Railway Station to the Parliament building at about 4:00 pm where some of the demonstrators were seen to wear jackets of the right-wing group Soldiers of Odin.

An anti-fascist demonstration was also held at Töölö Square, where the demonstrators bearing various banners and festoons chanted different slogans including “Helsinki without Nazis.”

Another demonstration was held at the Market Square with the slogan “For Peace."

Earlier on the day, the President, high ups of the government, Defence Forces officials and people from different strata placed wreath at Hietaniemi cemetery to pay tributes to the war heroes.

The Finnish Defence Forces held the Independence Day National Parade in Oulu with the theme “ Defenders of Independent Finland.”

The parade was participated by troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Defence University, as well as from the Finnish Border Guard and veterans’ and national defence organisations. Altogether about 1,300 personnel participated in the parade.

The country achieved liberation in 1917 from Imperial Russia.