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Helsinki protest focuses on rights before Trump-Putin summit

July 15, 2018
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A woman shows a poster as she attends a rally against the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in central Helsinki, Sunday, July 15, 2018. President Trump and President Putin will meet in Finland's capital on Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

HELSINKI (AP) — Some 1,500 people are protesting in Helsinki to promote human and sexual rights, democracy and environmental issues ahead of Monday’s summit in the Finnish capital between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The demonstrators marched through central Helsinki on Sunday into Senate Square shouting “Human rights for all!” and “Helsinki calling for Mr. Putin, Helsinki calling for Mr. Trump!”

One protester held a sign “Build saunas not war!”

Speeches were being delivered later by artists, environmentalists and politicians.

Organizers for “Helsinki Calling” said the protest wasn’t aimed directly against the U.S. or Russian president but was designed to focus on key global issues.

Timo Heikkinen, 50, a Helsinki native, says “we celebrate the Helsinki spirit here ... and we welcome everybody who respects human rights and democracy and doesn’t share fake news.”

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