HELSINKI - More than 2,500 people took to the streets of Helsinki on Thursday to express their support for Israel.
The rally, one of several that took place in Europe and the United States, was meant to counter the widespread condemnation of the Jewish state over the confrontation aboard the Turkish-owned flagship of the Gaza flotilla.
Demonstrators carried thousands of Israeli and Finnish flags as they marched toward the seaport, chanting pro-Israel slogans and singing Jewish songs, including the ever-popular "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem" (We brought peace unto you).
Zek Moyal, an Israeli living in Helsinki, told YNet news that most of the demonstrators were not Jewish.
"They came here following a call by a pro-Israeli Christian organization, which coordinated the event with the Jewish community," Moyal said.
Click here to watch the beginning of the Helsinki march and here to see the rally in New York City.
"Seeing this support brought a lot of joy, particularly in light of the local media's blitz on Israel in the days that followed the incident at sea," he said.
"The picture is beginning to balance out due to the photos of the weapons that were found on the [Gaza-bound] ship [Mavi Mamara]," Moyal said.
Finland's Jewish community numbers about 1,500, 200 of whom are Israeli.
Israeli Ambassador to Finland Avi Granot said seeing the thousands of flag-carrying demonstrators supporting Israel's right to defend itself against its enemies "was very heartwarming."
Pro-Israel rallies were also held in Vienna, Brussels, Hamburg, London, Montreal, New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami.
The rally in Los Angeles drew a big crowd, according to the LA Times.