Roses and candles mark Palme anniversary

Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Olof Palme on Sveavägen in central Stockholm.

The fatal shots were fired at 11.21pm on a Friday when he and his wife Lisbet were on their way home from the Grand cinema. Forty-five minutes later Olof Palme was declared dead at Sabbatsberg hospital.

Red roses and candles were laid at Palme’s grave in the Adolf Fredrik churchyard, not far from the murder scene, on Tuesday morning, while flagbearers held the UN flag, the Swedish flag and a flag representing the Social Democratic movement.

Palme’s successor as party leader and prime minister, Ingvar Carlsson, was one of those who braved the cold to commemorate him.

“First and foremost, we worked together and we didn’t just become party comrades, we became friends. We lost a great politician, but I personally also lost a friend,” said Carlsson.

“He built bridges between the poor world and the rich world. There are those who say that he didn’t leave a political legacy, but that’s pure ignorance. Palme was the forerunner when it came to areas such as equality, child care, the UN. He has had an enormous effect.”

Anna Sjödin, the chairman of the young Social Democrats, said that Palme had a great impact on her and all young politicians.

“He showed that politics can make a difference,” she said, visiting Palme’s grave.

“It is possible to change things if you want to.”

While visitors paid their respects in Adolf Fredrik churchyard, few people stopped as they passed by the scene of the shooting on the corner of Sveavägen and Olof Palmes gata a few hundred metres away.

A handful of roses lay by the memorial plaque on the pavement. One who came to lay a rose was 39 year old Malin Jönsson.

“It feels natural to come and honour his memory. He was a politician I respected. I believe he was a person whom everyone had an opinion about.”