The streets have been populated by impassioned Iraqi and Finnish protesters for the past 5 months, waving placards and chanting for justice. The 140 day long protests were cut short midway through last week, after police ordered their closure.
Police officials argued the upcoming Pride festival would coincide with demonstrations - despite the fact that both events were due to take place in different areas. With some misgivings Iraqi and Finnish protesters complied with these demands.
“We’ve made progress” said Mustafa, one of the organisers. “The demonstrations have been gradually growing, and many Finns have joined the cause”.
Over the past year these Iraqi refugees have come along way in carving out their own space in Finland. In the face of being sent back to their death, many remain calm and resolute.
Demonstrations have been entirely peaceful, yet not everyone approves of the refugees cause. Protesters have endured a barrage of attacks and insults from local right wing groups, who support the expulsion of refugees.
Military operations and political violence in Iraq, coupled with the rise and fall of Islamic State caliphate has left the country in dire straits. Prolonged fighting has rendered 4 million Iraqis homeless.
Pushed to desperation many Iraqis were forced to take the perilous voyage to Europe in search of safety. According to one of the asylum seekers, the UN run Institute of Migration (IoM) suggested they head to Finland, where they were promised refuge and safety.
Many feel that restricting financial services provided to Iraqis is another attempt to displace them. By depriving them of funding for social welfare, it is hoped that many will find it untenable to stay.
Positive news reached organisers at the beginning of the week. They were reissued with a permit allowing them to continue marching in the streets. The message is clear - they will not be going away anytime soon.
The main aim of protesters however is not to simply stop deportations; they want the government to review the laws that have been put in place surrounding immigration that allow these deportations to continue.
Alongside 3 political parties in Finland, an online campaign has been launched in a bid to collect 5,000 signatures, which would mean the Finnish government would have to, at the very least, discuss these laws.
Momentum may have been slowed, but those involved believe that continuing demonstrations will see their demands met once and for all.