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Activists disrupt tax demonstration

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20:04 CEST+02:00
Young activists disrupted a planned demonstration against property tax in Stockholm on Tuesday night.

Around 40 young people, dressed in blazers with Moderate Party badges and with slicked-back hair, disrupted the demonstration on Stockholm's Kungsträdgården, at which all four party leaders of the Alliance were present.

The activists interrupted speeches with shouts of "kill the rich," and "more tax, more healthcare".

"I am here because I have nowhere to live. I have to protest against the rich when the rich want to abolish yet another tax to benefit themselves," one of the demonstrators told news agency TT, before being moved away by police.

A handful of the counter-demonstrators had been arrested at 6 pm.

Another row started in the middle of the crowd during a question and answer session with the party leaders. Some 20 young people heckled the spokespeople, shouting slogans including "Better healthcare, higher tax."

The counter-demonstrators then unfurled a fake Moderate Party banner, which led one demonstrator to rush forward and try to rip it up. This caused a fight, which the police intervened to break up. They then surrounded a group of around 60 young people on Kungsträdgården, in the centre of the capital.

Many of the counter-demonstrators were young, some in their early teens. Extreme left-wing groupings had earlier been appealing to sympathizers to turn up and "crash the party". Police said that Osynliga Partiet ("The Invisible Party"), blamed for a string of vandal attacks against offices belonging to the Centre Party, was behind the calls to demonstrate.

"Everything indicates that groups will gather in conjunction with the tax demonstration on Kungsträdgården," Björn Engström at the police's special election squad said before Tuesday's events. He said that police would try to talk to potential troublemakers, and try to persuade them to hold peaceful counter-demonstrations at a pre-arranged location.

The original demonstration against property tax was organized by homeowner groups and Skattebetalarnas Förening, a group that campaigns for tax cuts.

The four party leaders have secret service protection. Jakob Larsson, spokesman for Security Service Säpo, would not say whether security levels had been raised ahead of the demonstration.

"We evaluate all events that the party leaders plan to take part in, decide what level of protection the situation demands, and plan our operations based on the threat analysis. I can't give more detailed information," he said.

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