by Tony Iozzo
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Thousands of Swedish citizens gathered in the streets of Stockholm on Sunday in an effort to protest widespread racism, in response to a neo-Nazi attack on a similar rally held last weekend.
Last weekend, approximately thirty neo-Nazis attacked an anti-racism demonstration in the Stockholm suburb of Karrtorp by throwing bottles and firecrackers at the protestors. Scuffles quickly ensued, and two people were stabbed, while twenty-six of the neo-Nazis were detained by police officers.
Organizers of Sunday’s protest suggest that over 16,000 protestors participated in the rally. The protestors could be heard chanting requests for fellow citizens such as, “End racism now”, and “No racists on our streets.” Several Swedish musicians and politicians were on hand. The musicians performed on a stage assembled on a football field. The politicians represented both the current-ruling center-right coalition and the center-left opposition.
“I want to contribute to a broad revulsion against Nazism and racism. Last week’s attack was sad. The lesson learned is that the fight for the equal value of all humans must carry on, or we won’t manage the fight against xenophobia,” Swedish Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag stated.
Sweden has seen a rise in support for the far right Anti-Immigration party as immigration has grown. These Swedish Democrats have reached roughly ten percent in the polls ahead of a parliamentary election next year. Stockholm experienced the worst riots in years this past May in mostly-impoverished immigrant Stockholm suburbs, as youths threw rocks at police officers and set cars on fire for over a week.
Sections of Karrtorp, which does not have a particularly large immigrant population compared to other areas of the city, were sprayed-painted with swastikas and Nazi slogans in response to last week’s protest.
Similar lower-key anti-racism rallies were held in support at several other Swedish cities on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, please see:
Al Jazeera – Thousands Rally Against Racism in Sweden – 23 December 2013
Haaretz – After neo-Nazi Attack, Thousands Rally in Sweden Against Racism – 23 December 2013
The Local – Anti-Racism Rally Attracts Thousands in Stockholm – 22 December 2013
Reuters – Thousands of Swedes Rally Against Racism – 22 December 2013