In a posting on its website, the left-wing extremist group said it chose to attack 35-year-old Vavra Suk, editor of the newspaper of the far-right National Democrats, because police had hindered AFA’s ability to counteract a right-wing political demonstration earlier in the week.
“The large police presence made it hard to act against the meeting. Therefore we chose another strategy. We attacked outside the National Democrats’ party offices in Rågsved [south of Stockholm]. When Vavra Suk came there, he and his car were attacked, the party’s sound equipment and propaganda were destroyed, and a handheld computer was confiscated,” AFA wrote on its website.
The group went on to argue that police interference gave AFA the right to act on its own initiative.
“That police persistently try to protect Nazis and racists is nothing new. Nor is it anything new that AFA Stockholm would hardly let themselves be stopped just because of that. We attack when we think it’s most appropriate, whether it’s at a fascist activity, at their party offices, or in a fascist’s home,” said AFA.
According to Mikael Wessling, lead investigator with Stockholm’s southern district police, there are still no concrete suspects in the case.
However, since the attack took place during the daytime on a weekend, there were many witnesses.
“We’ll see where the evidence leads us,” he told the TT news agency.
Sweden’s security police, Säpo, have also joined the investigation in line with a government mandate that they keep track of violent political extremist groups.
A spokesperson for Säpo said there have been more violent incidents that normal within political extremist circles, but that it’s too early to classify the development as a trend.
According to earlier assessments by Säpo, the normal scenario for violence by extremist groups in Sweden is that Nazis or other right-wing extremist groups try to organize a demonstration, prompting left-wing extremists to attack.
But from a societal perspective, each side is infringing on the other’s political and democratic rights.
According to Säpo, individual politicians and decision-makers in state agencies sometimes receive threats from the groups, but the agency doesn’t see the situation as a threat to the Swedish state.
Neither side has grown in size, when viewed over a long-term perspective. The violent extremist factions from both the right and the left consist of about 100 individuals on each side.