Today Malmö police are finding themselves at the centre of controversy after being accused of lying about the level of violence committed by protesters on Saturday 23rd in an attempt to justify the police’s use of force, including horse charges, that saw 10 protesters sent to hospital.
The counter demonstration, consisting of around 2000 people, was organised to oppose a rally being held by Svenskarnas Parti (Swede’s Party), a neo-Nazi party which believes that “only people who belong to the western genetic and cultural heritage… should be Swedish citizens”. The party has links to violent neo-Nazis who have previously attacked anti-fascists in Stockholm and Malmö.
Outrage at the way in which the counter demonstration was policed quickly grew on Friday as footage was posted on several news sites showing a moving police van turn to hit a man who was standing still, knocking him over and running over his legs.
This outrage spread further as photographs of blood flowing in the streets were later posted online – the aftermath of police horses charging through the crowd, then turning around and charging back again. Göteborgs Posten interviewed one of the people ran over by the horses, a man called Mehdi, who has suffered injuries to his hand, arm, face, back of the head and scrotum. Doctors have told him that he will never have full use of his hand again.
Malmö police decided to hit back at accusations of police brutality by releasing a statement on the same day as the counter demonstration claiming that the counter protesters had ripped up and thrown paving stones and ammonia at police officers and their horses. The statement, which referred to the counter demonstration as a “violent riot”, also alleged that protesters had attacked ambulance crews who attended to the injured.
However, this statement has been utterly rejected by Swedish newspapers, most notably Skånska Dagbladet which today posted an article headlined “Police lie about protester’s violence“, stating that “none of the information [in the statement] corresponds to reality”.
The article notes that, in all of the journalistic material available online from photos, video and live reports, there is “no evidence that the protesters threw cobblestones”, nor that pavements had been ripped up to be used as missiles. The author, Dag Ankersen, also recounts interviewing Hans Ivarsson, the emergency physician who was in charge of the ambulance crews on the day, who stated that “none of the [ambulance] staff have been attacked and there is no damage to our vehicles”.
Sydsvenskan posted an interview online yesterday with Rode Grönkvist, a member of Ung Vänster (Young Left) who was hit on the head with a police baton and taken to hopsital. Rode claims that he saw someone throw a drinks bottle and an empty tin, but “no paving stones or ammonia balloons”. The 20 year old also stated that he felt the atmosphere was calm until the police horses charged into the crowd.
Malmö police have now responded to the accusations in the Skånska Dagbladet article with a second statement, admitting that they have no evidence that cobblestones were thrown at police nor that ambulance crews were attacked, however they still maintain that stones were thrown at police and that the ambulance crews were harassed by protesters.
Svenskarna Parti’s tour of Sweden continued yesterday in Gothenburg and was again met by a counter demonstration, with large numbers of police in uniform and plain clothes present once more.
A facebook group “Anmäl Polisen” (Charge the Police) has been set up to publicly document the police violence that occurred on the day and encourage people to sign a petition demanding that the police should be investigated and charged. The group states that “the police should be charged with attempted murder in at least 3 cases and aggravated assault for the remainder”.