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Police head off National Day trouble

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15:11 CEST+02:00
Sweden's second National Day holiday - and the early summer sunshine - lured crowds out onto the streets of the country's cities on Tuesday, while police managed to keep rival extremist groups apart.

At a press conference in the morning Stockholm police made it clear that there was a high risk of trouble between left and right wing extremists in the city on National Day.

"More police than usual" were called in and by lunchtime officers had managed to keep the rival groups apart.

Just after 1pm hundreds of anti-racism protestors who had gathered in Kungsholms square began marching north, shouting and chanting slogans. Many of them were wearing black hoods an several threw bangers or were carrying flares.

Smoke filled the square, according to TT's reporter on the scene.

At the junction of Fleminggatan and Scheelegatan Anti-fascist activists were surrounded by police, which increased the tension of the situation. At least one person was beaten to the ground after kicking a police officer.

With loudspeakers, police explained to the demonstrators that wearing masks was prohibited. Several of them wore scarves or hoods over their faces.

According to police around 200 demonstrators were apprehended and taken away to a smaller square nearby. The atmosphere remained tense but police ordered everyone to sit down.

By the middle of the afternoon there were still isolated incidents as protestors attempted to break out of the police cordon and were then taken into custody.

Meanwhile, right wing extremists congregated in Rålambshovsparken, also at 1pm. They then began a march through Kungsholmen which led them back to Smedsuddsbadet in the park.

Among the approximately 700 who joined the march were representatives of the National Socialist Front and the National Democrat youth.

Around a hundred people in the Network Against Racism gathered in Sankt Eriksplan and just after 1pm they tried to head towards Kungsholmen. They were stopped by police, and then split up and disappeared into the nearby tunnelbana station.

That proved fruitless, however, since trains were not stopping at Sankt Eriksplan station.

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