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Public meetings and demonstrations

Public meetings and demonstrations

A public meeting is typically a demonstration, or some other event arranged under the constitutional freedom of assembly.

A public meeting can also be attended or watched by people other than those expressly invited to it. A demonstration solely intended for allowing individual people to express their opinions is not considered a public meeting.

How do I notify the police?

Notify the local police of an outdoor event arranged in a public place at least 24 hours before the event starts. The notification is free of charge.

Notifications made later than this may also be considered valid if the meeting will not cause undue disturbance to public order. 

You can submit the notice 

  • through the police’s online services 
  • by delivering, in person, by post or by e-mail, a printable form to the registry of the police department of the locality where the event is organised
  • by phone.

When can the police limit the organisation of public meetings?

Arranging and attending a meeting is everybody’s fundamental right. The police can restrict the organisation of public events on some conditions.

The police are sometimes notified of several public meetings to be arranged in the same place. They cannot be arranged at the same time. What action will the police take?

As a rule, the organiser who has made the notification first has priority. However, this can be deviated from if meetings have traditionally been arranged in the venue in question. An agreement on using the meeting venue also plays a role in this. Often the police negotiate with the contact persons. It can be agreed that other meetings be postponed until a later date or arranged in some other suitable place. 

When do the police intervene with the meeting place?

The police can negotiate with the contact person about moving the public meeting to another place if arranging the meeting in the notified place would

  • endanger people’s safety 
  • cause considerable harm to the environment or damage to property 
  • cause considerable disturbance to outsiders or traffic
  • disturb an event that is part of a state visit, an international conference arranged by a public corporation or an event with comparable need for protection.

A public meeting involves a procession. Do the police intervene with this?

If required by the fluency of traffic, the police can order that the route of the procession be changed after negotiating with the contact person. However, care should be taken when changing the route that it will not interfere with the purpose of the procession.

Remember that the police can also take action without negotiating with the contact person if the contact person cannot be reached.

Yleiset kokoukset ja mielenosoitukset -haitarin otsikko

Frequently asked questions on demonstrations

Hundreds of demonstrations are organised in Finland every year. Demonstrating allows citizens to exercise two of their important rights: freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. There are both rights and obligations related to demonstrating. We compiled answers to the most common questions concerning demonstrations and the operations of the police.

Yleiset kokoukset ja mielenosoitukset - haitari

Yleinen kokous infolaatikko en

Proceed as follows

Notify the police of public meetings and demonstrations (in Finnish)