Thousands demonstrate against Nato in Gothenburg

Several thousand people have marched through Gothenburg to protest against a major Nato naval exercise being carried out from the city's harbour.

The group of far-left activists carried banners with mottos including ‘Crush Nato’ and ‘Hope U Sink’.

Some 43 ships are taking part in the exercise including vessels from Sweden and a whole range of Nato member states. Other nations taking part include the UK, the United States, France and Turkey. Among the larger ships present in Gothenburg are British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.

“We don’t want Gothenburg to be linked to an aggressive military alliance, said Ana Rubin a Left Party councillor in Gothenburg and spokeswoman for the demonstration.

Hans Linde, MP and foreign policy spokesman for the Left Party criticized Sweden’s foreign minister Mikael Odenberg for not taking Gothenburgers’ opposition to the exercise seriously.

The demonstration started at Gustaf Adolfs Torg and headed towards the port along the city’s canals. Police monitored the marchers from a rowing boat.

At Jussi Björlings Plats by the city’s opera house the demonstrators displayed their placards to some of the 43 ships moored in the port. Few sailors seemed to see them, however – the decks of the ships were mostly empty.

Organizers say that there were up to 3,000 demonstrators. Police say there were no problems keeping order.

“Everything went off very peacefully. There were no problems with order,” said police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg.