Day 10 of the Helsinki demonstration by Iraqi asylum seekers: “We will demonstrate for as long as necessary”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Here’s a show of respect and admiration for the Iraqi asylum seekers protesting in cold February in Helsinki against the harsh asylum policies of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), which is an extension of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government.

Nour M Jamal is one of the many Iraqis that have taken part in the demonstrations demanding a change in asylum policy and deportations by the police service.

“We feel disappointed with the authorities even if [Interior Minister Paula] Risikko and the head of Migri [Jaana Vuorio] visited us,” he said. “Both of them didn’t say anything new.”

Jamal said that one of the nice things about the demonstration is the support they have received from the Finns.

“People that pass by have shown their support to us giving us money, clothes and even demonstrating with us,” he said. “We are grateful to them and appreciate their support.”

The picture above shows a large number of demonstrators including children and women.

“To those that claim wrongly that we left our women and children behind,” continued Jamal, “we tell them that they can speak to the women who are with us in the tent.”

The Iraqi asylum seeker said that they will demonstrate at the Helsinki Railway Square for as long as is necessary.

“We have nothing to lose by demonstrating,” he concluded. “We have come this far so let’s not stop now.”

The Iraqi asylum seekers have been demonstrating peacefully since February 10 and are showing with their example how to demonstrate effectively. We have witnessed in Finland two large demonstrations attracting between 10,000 and 20,000 people: Stop the game! on September 24, 2016, and in the end of July 2015, when people demonstrated against Perussuomalaiset MP Olli Immonen’s declaration of war against our ever-growing culturally diverse society.

Two demonstrations that attracted thousands of protesters in 2016 and 2015. Are smaller demonstrations that go on indefintiely more effective? Picture on the left by Christian Thibault.

Maybe “small is beautiful” and the best way to get one’s message across in a country where anti-immigration sentiment is still the rule.