Protesters in Finland are readying themselves for demonstrations ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's forthcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the capital.
Over a dozen protests are expected to take place between Saturday and Monday, when the Trump-Putin summit is scheduled. Security personnel have been bulked up ahead of the historic meeting, said to be the most significant of its kind since ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1994.
The U.S. immigration crisis is one of the main issues on the agenda, but 'Helsinki Calling' – one of the largest protests due on Sunday – will also confront human rights violations, democracy, freedom of expression, inequality, and the fate of refugees.
An estimated 15,000 participants are expected, with celebrities such as author Sofi Oksanen ('The Purge') and Social Democratic Party politician Abdirahim 'Husu' Hussein due to speak at the event.
"We wanted to be pro-something rather than anti-something," Hussein told Tle News of the planned demonstrations. "Some people wanted to escalate things. We also wanted to raise issues, but in the right way."
Henrik Vuornos, leader of the conservative youth group National Coalition Party, told AFP: "To President Trump we are saying: 'Make America Trade Again', for free trade, against trade war. To President Putin our message is: 'Stop your illegal military occupation in Ukraine.'"
According to Chief Inspector Juha Hakola, of the Helsinki police force, "It is the job of civil society to talk about matters which the heads of state cannot necessarily discuss diplomatically."
While Trump was still in Scotland, protesters set up camp next to a golf course where he and wife Melania were playing. A paraglider with the words 'Trump: Well below par #Resist' printed across his parachute appeared in the skies above as activists chanted 'No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA!' and 'Trump is a racist! Trump is a liar!'
In Edinburgh, 10,000 protesters marched through the streets. A Californian native now living in the Scottish capital told CBS News: "I don't think anything gets the message across to Trump, but I hope demonstrations like these encourage people in the States to fight the Trump regime.
"We need to show that there are people outside America who care about what is happening and that Trump has a global impact."