Tuusula and nation mourn school tragedy
Three minutes of silence were held on Thursday at 10:00 AM at municipal workplaces in Tuusula, and the Ministry of the Interior has asked that flags in Finland be flown at half staff on Thursday.
Parliament adjourned early on Wednesday out of respect for the victims of the massacre. Debate on climate policy, which began at 3:00 PM, was concluded, and at 5:00 in the afternoon, it was to have discussed Finnish crisis management operations in Afghanistan, Sudan, Chad, and the EU. However, Speaker of Parliament Sauli Niinistö decided to postpone the debate.
There is still some embarrassment over the aftermath of the terror attacks in the Untied States on September 11th, 2001, when debate continued in the Finnish Parliament as if nothing had happened.
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) said at a press conference later on Wednesday that the event leaves a deep wound in Finland's peaceful and safe society. He noted that homes and schools need a massive amount of knowledge on how to relate to the tragedy.
Minister of Education Sari Sarkomaa (Nat. Coalition Party) called on schools all over the country to discuss the events with pupils.
President Tarja Halonen expressed her condolences to the next of kin of those who died, and sympathy toward the injured and to all of those who were touched by the tragedy.
Minister of Social Services Paula Risikko emphasised the importance of the role played by parents. "It would be good if parents would go through the matter with their children."
Schoolchildren in the Helsinki area plan to light candles at home on Thursday evening to commemorate the victims of the Jokela killings.
On Wednesday evening, many sent each other text messages urging them to light candles in their windows at 6:00 PM on Thursday.
Churches around the country are holding prayer vigils on Thursday. At noon, a televised service was held at Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral, with Espoo Bishop Mikko Heikka and Matti Poutainen, the Dean of the Cathedral speaking.
The Jokela School Centre where the tragedy took place, will be closed through the end of the week while police investigations continue. On their unscheduled day off, pupils gathered at the police cordon around the school to light candles to commemorate those who died.
Finnish and foreign television crews and news photographers surrounded the schoolchildren. Municipal Mayor Hannu Joensivu stood in the midst of the crowd and sombrely gave statements to the cameras.