16,000 demonstrate against racism despite reported bomb threat

by Jack R

A bomb threat, supposedly directed at an anti-racist demonstration being held in Stockholm, was initially reported by Aftonbladet this morning, before the police stated that they had received no such threats and the article was corrected. Despite this reported threat, and amidst the presence of police sniffer dogs, 16,000 people gathered in a football stadium to demonstrate against racism and respond to last weeks violent attack by Nazis against an anti-racist demonstration in Kärrtorp. The demonstrators gathered in Kärrtorp before marching to the local football stadium, where bands played and speeches were delivered by members of anti-racist organisation Linje 17.

Demonstrators gather at the football stadium – photo: Stefan Jerrevång

The demonstration today was originally intended to take place once again in the district of Kärrtorp, but it was moved at late notice to the football stadium in order to accommodate the huge numbers of demonstrators that were expected to turn up. The demonstrators included representatives from all the Swedish political parties, notably with the exception of the Swedish Democrats – a right wing party that have faced heavy criticism for several racist scandals over recent years.

In the week since the initial demonstration and attack, thousands more have demonstrated throughout cities in Sweden including Umeå and Gothenburg, which saw a torch-lit procession of over 3,000 thousand people march through the city on Thursday. People have also gathered in Helsinki today to demonstrate against racism and show their support for those attacked in Kärrtorp.

People gather on Avenyn in Gothenburg before departing towards Järntorget – photo: Peo Wennander/Sveriges Radio

The demonstration in Stockholm today passed without major incident, with one arrest being made by police as they spotted a group of Svenska motståndsrörelsen near the football stadium and a further drug-related arrest being made inside the stadium.

Whilst all those arrested last Sunday have now been released, further arrests have been made in the past week with 3 more members of Svenska motståndsrörelsen arrested on suspicion of rioting as well as one member of left wing organisation Revolutionära fronten arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter.

It is now known that half of the Svenska motståndsrörelsen attackers are teenagers, with one being a minor. It has also been reported by Aftonbladet that 9 members of Svenska motståndsrörelsen involved in the attack “have clear links to right-wing extremism, terrorism or violent and Nazi organizations and/or convictions relating to serious threats and violent crime”.

The police have also come under further criticism concerning their level of preparedness on the day, after they revealed that they had information that there was a potential threat against the anti-racist demonstrators yet did not pass on that information to those involved with policing the demonstration in time. Police spokesman Kjell Lindgren told TT that this is “not acceptable” and that the police “will now take steps to find better procedures so that information continues to get through at the right time”.

 

For more pictures of the demonstration see here.

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