HELSINKI, June 30 (Xinhua) -- According to police figures, the annual Helsinki Pride Parade for sexual equality on Saturday attracted 100,000 marchers, nearly tripled the last year's 35,000.
For the first time, major corporations participated and paid advertisements in the media. National broadcaster, Yle sent the marching live on television for the first time.
This year saw the first large scale hoisting of the rainbow flag in public buildings in flagpoles that usually show the national flag. City of Helsinki exhibited a dozen rainbow flags in the facade of the City Hall.
Mayor Jan Vapaavuori told national radio that Helsinki must show the way forward. He said values have changed from past decades.
Marriage law became gender neutral in Finland in 2014. Pride now focuses on the demand to overhaul the legislation for gender correction. The current law requires sterilization in the process of gender correction. Efforts to change the law have been blocked in the last two governments by small value conservative parties in the coalition.
Sami Mollgren, the editor in chief of an equality oriented news service, told Xinhua that the entry of big business into the Pride scene has not been without controversy.
"The use of the rainbow flag in advertising by big companies has caused consternation if the companies have not given financial support to the event," he said.
Mollgren said such companies have been accused of "pink washing" in social media debates. He noted that in Finland the business community remained cautious for a long time towards participation in the prides.
The actual Helsinki Pride organization had only one paid employee, while all the rest of the operation was based on voluntarism and donations.
The police said there were no incidents. The use of a firearm by the police against a stabber at noon occurred in another area and was unrelated to Pride.
While there was no vocal opposition in Helsinki, the opinion climates vary in rural towns. Earlier in June, rainbow flags in public buildings were stolen overnight and the pole cords cut in the northwestern coastal town of Kokkola.