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'Nazi' signs rile local politicians

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'Nazi' signs rile local politicians
11:06 CET+01:00
A local power utility in the small town of Övertorneå in northern Sweden has riled local politicians with a hate campaign directed at the local branch of the Social Democrat party.

A battle has been raging between power utility Ekfors Kraft and local politicians over an illuminated sign adorning the side of their offices on Matarengivägen, the main street through the town.

The sign refers to the Social Democrat party as the National Social Democrats, and is decorated with the symbol of the Social Democrat party, a red rose, surrounded by the Nazi swastika.

With the tourist season fast approaching local politicians of all colours want to see an end to a conflict that has rumbled on for over six years and get the signs removed.

"This is not good PR for the county," Social Democratic politician Harry Kempainen told local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD).

"The signs must be taken down, there is no alternative if we want to be able to look our visitors in the eye."

The sign appears to be an attempt to link the mainstream political party with the far-right National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna, ND).

The conflict between Ekfors Kraft CEO Mikael Styrman and the Social Democrat party dates back over six years and but has escalated recently.

Styrman claims that he is the victim of a political campaign dictated from the top of the party.

"It angers me that people get upset over the signs, but not over how my family and I have been treated," Mikael Styrman said.

Ekfors Kraft is subject to a forced administration order following a long running dispute with the Swedish Energy Authority (Energimyndigheten) over a decision not to connect a local property to its electricity network.

State-owned power utility, and main competitor, Vattenfall, was in 2006 appointed to administer the firm.

Styrman's sign campaign against the party has so far cost his firm more than 60,000 kronor ($7,000).

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