The attempted attack highlighted the lack of security around the opposition leader. There were just two doormen for the 600 guests at the party at Stockholm’s Münchenbryggeriet.
The man, who was described as “unshaven, with lank hair and wearing a grubby suit” – perhaps a disguise to blend in with the politicians – was first turned away from the front door by doorman Conny Rosén at around 6.30pm.
But just after 1am another doorman, Marcus Ekblom, spotted the man among guests and approached him.
“I am a moderate and a member of the establishment,” the man said, and demanded to be released. Ekblom guided the man towards the stairs to the ground floor exit but as they passed through the bar – where Reinfeldt was chatting to colleagues – he struggled to break free.
“He suddenly moved his hand inside his jacket,” said Ekblom. “Instinctively I knocked away his hand, revealing a holster with a knife in – I reckon the knife was 30-40 centimetres long.”
The man ran away.
“The only thing that annoys me is that I didn’t manage to stop him,” said Ekblom, who believes that the would-be assailant got in through a staff entrance. “But there were so few of us guards there.”
“I’m not trained in personal protection,” he added.
Sven Otto Littorin, the Moderate Party secretary, told Svenska Dagbladet that he had told the parliamentary security services about the party, who in turn had informed the security police (Säpo) and the ordinary police.
“But it’s practically impossible to protect against this kind of person,” said Littorin. “It’s awful. But you can’t stop living just because there are nutters about.”
According to Hans Ryberg, the manager of Münchenbryggeriet, nobody had mentioned security until he contacted the Moderate Party and suggested getting doormen. Ryberg, talking to Expressen, was annoyed that the reputation of his establishment had been on the line.
“If there had been a murder in here, Münchenbryggeriet would forever have been associated with it.”
While it is not clear if Fredrik Reinfeldt was definitely the target of an attack, the opposition leader told Expressen that he was “shaken” by the incident – but he wouldn’t comment on his own security arrangements.
“I haven’t had time to let it sink in yet,” he said.
It was left to former party leader Ulf Adelsohn to make the obvious comparison with the murder of Anna Lindh in September 2003.
“It’s not long ago that our foreign minister was murdered,” he said. “And yet we still have a large number of highly dangerous people on the loose because the hospitals have been closed. It’s completely insane.”