• Sweden's news in English
 
'History is repeating itself': Malmö on Nazism
Amie and other Malmöites spoke to The Local at Sunday's huge demo. Photo: Patrick Reilly

'History is repeating itself': Malmö on Nazism

Published: 17 Mar 2014 07:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2014 11:20 GMT+01:00

Malmö’s Möllevångstorget is usually pretty quiet on a Sunday as the market traders take a day off. March 16th, 2014 was no ordinary day of rest as the square was buzzing with activists and bystanders, who swarmed the area for the demonstration on everybody’s lips.

Seven days earlier, a smaller demonstration against fascism was held in the same location, which attracted 1,000 people. Significantly more packed the market square a week later in large part motivated by events, which occurred barely a stone’s throw from this part of Möllan, the previous week.

Exact details remain unclear and those in attendance have offered differing accounts. What is beyond doubt is that a 25-year old man, Showan Shattak, was left critically injured after being stabbed following a fight. 

The Party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas Parti - SvP) subsequently issued a statement where they appeared to take responsibility for the incident.

Shattak, who is well known for his work to stamp out homophobia among football fans, was a major presence in Möllan from his hospital bed. His face appeared on numerous flags and supporters sold t-shirts bearing his name for 100 kronor.

“I’ve known Showan since childhood as we went to school together from the first until the ninth grade. It was very shocking to find out that he had been attacked and ended up seriously injured,”Alexander Khadhraoui told The Local as he braved the rain pelting down in the square.

Khadhraoui’s friend Stefanie Andersson added chillingly, “I think the Nazis who attacked him knew who he was. They wanted to kill him.”

The assault on Shattak, who was among four people injured, is the latest in a long line of incidents in Malmö involving the extreme right.

While the city may have enjoyed some limelight due to hosting Eurovision and its increasingly trendy image, it has been dogged by anti-Semitism claims while a teenage Social Democrat politician was assaulted after giving a speech on immigration.

For many, the attack on the popular Shattak was the final straw, prompting activists to stage one of the largest demonstrations ever in the city.

IN PICTURES: Malmö demonstrators tell The Local why they are marching 

Even the Skåne County police said they had never seen anything on this scale before, while local newspaper Sydsvenskan said 10,000 people showed up for the demo which lasted from 2pm until well after the sun went down.

“Fascism is growing and you can see it historically. It grows when there is high unemployment, welfare cuts and workers from different countries are competing for the same jobs. The whole social situation factors into fascists expressing these actions,” Lars Flysjö, spokesman for Skåne against racism, which organized the demonstration, told The Local.

The SvP may have taken responsibility for the attack but Flysjö argued that they are but one part of a larger fascist movement.

“What we are seeing now is part of a broader movement that is connected and associated with other Nazi attacks. They have been threatening people who don’t agree with them and are on the offensive.

He added; “They are part of the same wave of fascists in the shape of the Nazis.”

Among the political parties that participated in the protest were the Left Party, who dished out free vegan hot dogs, while Feminist Initiative (Fi) and the Communist Party of Sweden were also well represented.

Copies of the Proletären newspaper were handed out as protesters were warmed up by a soundtrack of Neil Young’s ‘Rockin in the free world’ and The Animals’ ‘We gotta get out of this place.’

The march went from Möllevångstorget into the heart of the city centre and then back again. In general the atmosphere at the demo was cordial, in marked contrast to the violence after the International Women’s Day demonstration seven days previous.

A police officer told The Local that the event had passed without major incident and it was obvious that the authorities kept a deliberately low profile. For many, the highlight was hearing that Shattak was improving after his life had hung in the balance.

“He is awake and they have taken down the respirator. He spoke to his brother in the hospital so it is encouraging,” protester Stefanie Andersson told The Local.

But for all the positive noises emanating from Möllan there was a less appetizing reaction to the stabbing pasted on a nearby signpost. On it was a ‘Wanted’ sign complete with picture, personal number, address and phone number of one of the alleged perpetrators of the previous week’s violence.

‘The problem is fascism, the solution is action’ was written on one of the many banners on display.

The brutal attack on a popular local has brought Malmö together in a show of solidarity but also revealed the potential for vigilantism. 

Follow Patrick on Twitter 

Patrick Reilly (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden
Tora Holst, head of the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm. Photo: Marc Femenia/SCANPIX

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden

War criminals could walk free in Sweden because there are too few police officers to investigate the suspected offences, prosecutors have warned. READ  

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease
Swedes are among Europe's biggest coffee drinkers. Photo: Helena Wahlman/Image Bank Sweden

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease

Few people drink more coffee than the Swedes and now research funded by the Swedish Medical Council has suggested that those who have four to six cups a day may be less likely to get multiple sclerosis (MS). READ  

The Local Recipes
How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up
Pyttipanna with pickled beetroot and a fried egg. Photo: John Duxbury

How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up

Famous Swedish meal 'pyttipanna' has seen a revamp in recent years. This traditional comfort food used to be a way of using up leftovers, but is nowadays often spotted in trendy restaurants. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,025
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options