Extremists clash on National Day

Tension was high on National Day in Stockholm as a march by right-wing extremists was met by counter-demonstrators from far-left groups.

The demonstration, called ‘Folkets Marsch’ or ‘March of the People’ was taking place with official permission. As the demonstrators gathered in Vasaparken in central Stockholm they were met by counter-demonstrators, who shouted insults.

Several far-left activists were taken from the scene by police.

“We have removed around 25 AFA (Antifascist Aktion) demonstrators from the scene to avoid confrontation and prevent violence,” said Stockholm Police spokeswoman Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs.

The situation escalated when the march started to move at about 1pm.

“Suddenly every other sunbather stood up. Around one hundred people are trying to stand in the way of the demonstration,” a reporter for news agency TT said.

The action delayed the march, which eventually set off from the park at about 1:45pm.

“Apparently normal people are lining the pavements, whistling and booing,” TT’s reporter said.

A large group of counter-demonstrators had been pressed back by police and were standing some distance away from the right-wing extremists. At certain points on the march groups of counter-demonstrators, many wearing masks, came within a short distance of the parade.

At one point a red firecracker was thrown at the marchers. A 25-year-old man was arrested immediately.

A large force of police were attending. Some of them were mounted.

Several of those in the march were dressed in military outfits. Others had shaven heads and tattoos in blue and yellow, the Swedish national colours.

By the time the march reached Sveavägen, several hundred left-wing activists had gathered to shout insults.

Around one hundred police officers, some with dogs and some with horses, encircled around 100 demonstrators at Vanadisparken at around 3pm. The activists were monitored by police until buses arrived to remove them.