Helsinki Pride attracts ‘record-breaking’ 100,000 marchers
More than 100,000 people are estimated to have marched at Helsinki Pride on Saturday, organisers say – nearly three times the reported average number in recent years.
The annual march in the Finnish capital started at the city centre and finished with a party in Kaivopuisto park, where there were speakers, DJs, and performers.
Organisers posted about the reportedly record-breaking crowd on Facebook.
According to Finnish broacaster Yle Uutiset, the march had previously attracted about 35,000 people in recent years.
The march was organised by human rights organisation HeSeta.
Performers at Helsinki Pride included trans popstar Dana International, singer Zühlke, indie band Fresh Tides, YouTuber and singer Tuure Boeliu, and DJ Jytää ja Iskelmää.
The event also saw rainbow flags being flown on public buildings, including City Hall.
Helsinki Police posted on Twitter that there were no incidents at the event.
Finnish lesbian icon Saara Aalto was also present at the event, appearing on a truck with a dance stage.
“I’m so grateful to all the people in my life who have given me the opportunity to become who I am,” she told Yle Uutiset at the event. “Love is the most important thing!”
Helsinki Pride ran from 26 June through to 1 July, with the march being held on Saturday 30 June.
Aalto recently represented Finland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, performing her song “Monsters” while strapped to a spinning wheel.
Aalto said: “I am very proud to be lesbian and I feel very much like I am lesbian, totally.”
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She added: “I have worked on my own mental health always. I have always been very fine with who I am and never cared about people’s opinions.”
“If people say nasty things then they are sad with their lives. If you are a balanced, positive person you don’t say bad things to each other. All those people who say bad things are miserable, and I don’t want them to affect my decisions or my life.”
Aalto also said she has suffered from career-related stress, accrediting a “healthy” approach to counselling as her saving grace at work and in her private life.
“I went to therapy at 22 or 23 because I wanted to go for fun. I knew it’d help me, and it did,” she said.
“I had a burnout when I was younger, I was working so much, but now I’m wiser and I’m older and I want to balance my life, Meri [Saara’s fiance Meri Sopanen] was always like, ‘Saara you need to stop working now and we need to relax!’”