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Stockholmers protest for Christians in Iraq

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Stockholmers protest for Christians in Iraq
The demonstration on Sunday. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT
11:09 CEST+02:00
IN PICTURES: Thousands of people gathered in central Stockholm on Sunday to protest violence against Christians in the Middle East, particularly Iraq.

On Sunday afternoon thousands of Stockholmers gathered on Medborgarplatsen, demanding protection for the Christians in Iraq who are fighting for their lives. 

"We ask that an autonomous protection area be established for the Christians in northern Iraq, under a UN mandate," demonstration spokesman Gabriel Marawgeh told Sveriges Television at the event.

"We also ask that those who have fled from persecution be compensated by the government of Iraq for everything they have lost, so that they can rebuild their lives and their sanctuaries."

Police said there were about 3,500 participants in the protest, though the organizers said there were many more. 

"Medborgarplatsen was completely full. There were at least 6,000 people, maybe closer to 10,000," Marawgeh said.

See pictures from the demonstration here

Many of the protesters carried signs, stating "Shame, Swedish media, for your silence" and "Convert to Islam, pay unreasonable taxes, and still die under the sword".

Multiple politicians also attended the demonstration, including Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund and EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson. 

Green Party spokesman Gustav Fridolin also gave a speech, demanding better escape routes to Europe for those persecuted in the Middle East.

Björklund expressed similar sentiments.

"The entire western world needs to wake up," he said in his speech at the demonstration.

"We are standing before a civil genocide. There have been far too many incidents in history when we have said afterwards, 'Why didn't we do anything when it happened'?"

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