Anti-racist anger at cancelled concert

An anti-racist group in Karlstad has reacted angrily to a decision by the council to cancel a planned concert. A Sweden Democrats (SD) meeting planned for the same weekend is given as the reason.

The campaign, Värmland against racism, links a network of organisations and individuals working actively against racism and right-wing extremism in the county in western Sweden.

The concert was scheduled to take place in the city on May 3rd.

Karlstad council has now decided to cancel the concert due to the threat of violence in connection with the far-right Sweden Democrats national congress that is scheduled for the same weekend, reports local media.

“The date was set a long time ago. The council has lent us the premises and given financial support for the event. On Wednesday we were suddenly informed that all undertakings had been withdrawn and that we have to cancel the concert,” said Mikael Larsson of Värmland against racism.

“Representatives for the council referred to threats, but could not be more specific,” Larsson added.

The council’s decision has not however been taken in consultation with the police.

“We have nothing to do with this. It is a unilateral decision from the council,” said Tomas Olsson of Karlstad police to local newspaper Värmlands Folkblad.

Olsson is in charge of police operations in connection with the Sweden Democrats national congress that was booked in at the Hotel Gustaf Fröding in Karlstad only a month ago.

Mikael Larsson doubts whether the Sweden Democrats would have been likely to cause trouble at their concert and is critical that the council has allowed the Sweden Democrats to set the agenda for the weekend.

A press release from Karlstad council on Friday confirms that the concert has been cancelled but refers only to insufficient licences and makes no mention of the threats.