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Sweden's extreme left ups violent attacks

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12:10 CEST+02:00
Violent threats to democracy from groups on the far left escalated in the run-up to the European Parliament elections, according to the Swedish Security Police (Säpo).

The far right Sweden Democrats were one of the main targets of the so-called "autonomous" movement. But parties in Sweden's coalition government also found themselves in the firing line.

"We noted around twenty incidents of violence against people or property. The Sweden Democrats were not the only ones affected; the Liberal and Moderate parties were also hit," said Johan Olsson, chief analyst for Säpo's constitutional protection division.

The chief perpetrators came from groups on the extreme left such as Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) and Revolutionära Fronten.

"It's part of what they call their anti-fascist agenda. They don't believe that parties they consider critical of immigrants or opposed to workers' rights should be permitted to operate undisturbed," Olsson told news agency TT.

One of the more serious incidents recorded in the period leading up to the EU parliament elections was the assault on Saturday night of Sweden Democrat party secretary Martin Kinnunen and his girlfriend.

The pair were set upon by an estimated ten assailants, according to the public prosecutor. The attack occurred at Gullmarsplan in south Stockholm while the couple were making their way home from a visit to a restaurant.

Both were taken to hospital after a security guard intervened to halt the attack. Kinnunen's girlfriend suffered concussion and is believed to have been struck across the head with knuckle dusters.

Two young women, 20 and 25, were remanded in custody on Tuesday in connection with the attack.

The prosecutor in the case believes at least five more people may be arrested for involvement in the brutal assault.

Sweden Democrat politicians have also come under attack at public meetings and have had their property destroyed to the extent that the party eventually stopped advertising when it was planning to hold rallies in town squares.

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