Lundby-Wedin booed during May Day speech
Published: 02 May 2009 10:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 May 2009 10:25 GMT+02:00
When Wanja Lundby-Wedin, head of Sweden’s Trade Union Confederation (LO), stepped onto the stage at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm on Friday, she was greeted by both celebration and condemnation. Her opening words were drowned out by the crowd, and she had to begin her speech three times.
“Resign, resign, resign,” chanted a small group of disaffected youth.
The other spectators around them became irritated and officials quickly removed the group from Norra Bantorget.
Moments into Lundby-Wedin's speech, another group began to shout loudly for her resignation. She was forced to interrupt her speech and address the critics.
“To those who are screaming, democracy is served by respecting the right to assemble,” she said.
“These are people who normally are not part of our demonstration parades,” Lundby-Wedin said of the incident after the speech.
“Of course it was a little bit uncomfortable, not so much for me but the fact that they destroyed it for everyone else.”
According to organisers, 12,500 people gathered at the largest May Day march in Stockholm. Many of the demonstrators yelled “"Yalla, yalla, jobb åt alla!" ('Let's go! Jobs for everyone!') and a visibly happy Lundby-Wedin waved at the spectators.
Earlier in the day in Sundbyberg, Lundby-Wedin was greeted by cheers and hearty applause.
At the beginning of her speech, she said that it's not always easy to have a union or a political mandate.
“Sometimes things go wrong, then it will be criticised, and then the mistake should be corrected. It's better than stepping aside. Stepping aside just gives the employers and neo-liberals the chance to make decisions.”
Yesterday, a number of union representatives launched an appeal that, among other things, called for “union leaders at all levels who are ready to fight for and share their members' demands.”