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. Anyone may follow a public meeting or demonstration, and everyone wishing to exercise their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech may participate.

A demonstration solely intended for allowing individual people to express their opinions is not considered a public meeting.

How to notify of a demonstration?

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 notification 

  • through the online service of the police
  • by delivering, in person, by post or by e-mail, a duly completed 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 a public meeting?

Arranging and attending a meeting is everybody’s fundamental right. The police may restrict the organising of a public meeting and participation in a meeting only on grounds laid down by law. 

Sometimes, several public meetings are notified to be arranged in the same place. Their simultaneous arrangement is not possible. What action will the police take?

The police resolves situations concerning the same meeting venue based on the order of priority. As a rule, the organiser who first submitted the notification shall have precedence. However, exceptions can be made if one of the organisers has regularly used the meeting venue for arranging public meetings. A contract on using the meeting venue may also play a role in this matter.

In many cases, the police will negotiate with the contact persons on a suitable meeting venue. It can be agreed in the negotiations that the other meetings be postponed until a later date or arranged in another place suitable in view of the purpose of the meeting.

When will the police intervene with the meeting place?

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

  • compromise the safety of people 
  • cause considerable harm to the environment or damage to property 
  • cause unreasonable inconvenience to bystanders or traffic
  • disturb an event that is part of a state visit, an event pertaining to an international conference arranged by a public corporation or another event requiring similar security arrangements.

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

Where the flow of traffic so requires and after having negotiated with the contact person, the police may order the route of a procession to be altered, however so that the purpose of the procession is not compromised by way of the route alteration. The procession must comply with road traffic regulations and the obligations indicated by traffic signalling devices, unless the police is leading the procession or otherwise guiding traffic.

Remember that the police may 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

Submit a notification to the police of a public meeting and demonstration