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Ex-member arrested in Riksdag chamber

TT/David Landes · 17 Jun 2009, 07:05

Published: 17 Jun 2009 07:05 GMT+02:00

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The incident took place in connection with a parliamentary vote on increasing capacity at Sweden’s nuclear power plants, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

Larsson and a group from The Green Women (Gröna Qvinnor), a feminist group focused on equality and environmental issues, had been watching the proceedings from the viewers’ gallery when they decided to stand up.

According to Larsson, she and her colleagues stood up to “get a better view” but as they began to leave the chamber shortly thereafter, they were confronted by Riksdag security guards who told them to sit back down.

Later the police arrived and arrested Larsson and four others on suspicions of harassment with an alternative allegation of disorderly conduct.

They were questioned on the scene and later released.

“Everyone was arrested. But it’s almost like I want to apologize to tax payers. I’m ashamed. We had absolutely no intention to commit a criminal act,” Larsson told DN.

According to their report on the incident, Riksdag security guards had interpreted the actions of Larsson and other women in The Green Women as an unauthorized expression of opinion because Larsson was wearing a t-shirt with the text “Kärnkraft nej tack” (‘No nuclear power, please’).

“It was important for us to see the vote,” said Larsson.

“We wanted to see how many voted for and against. But to have the police come – that wasn’t how we imagined our day would end. It was an unpleasant experience; we couldn’t have imagined what happened in our wildest fantasies.”

Story continues below…

Visitors to the Riksdag are not allowed to offer visible or vocal support to a particular point of view represented in a debate.

"It's not permitted to put up banners or applaud, for example. This is something that is stipulated in the Riksdag's regulations," a spokesperson told The Local.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:41 June 17, 2009 by RoyceD
Arrested for expressing an opinion... sorry but ....WHAT?! where do we live? Next thing you know they will be burning women suspected of being witches.
08:42 June 17, 2009 by apostolos1975
What does "unauthorized expression of opinion" mean? I hope it is just a translation mistake. Since when does anybody need authorization to express an opinion. Especially when it is not verbal (it was her t-shirt).

Please someone enlighten me
08:48 June 17, 2009 by Nuname
This is only speculation but perhaps there is some law outlawing lobbying in parliament. If these people came in in the knowledge that they were only there to observe, and then appeared to be demonstrating perhaps the security had a point. (I doubt it though).
09:42 June 17, 2009 by hpunlimited
If you are inside the parliament building and watching the proceedings you need to behave. Interrupting the democrating process SHOULD not be allowed. This kind of shows you the level of inmaturity and inability of these green politicians that they have no understanding of this.

God forgive us if these green party members ever gets to power in Sweden. That would be the end of Sweden.
10:12 June 17, 2009 by Playmaker
Look it is obivious that they were expressing a opinion on a topic that was being debated. if they just want to watch the vote in peace that is ok but you can not were a t-shirt stating your opinion and she know thats and she is a liar. i hope they charge her to the full extent of the law.
11:13 June 17, 2009 by 007
it was a political move. she knows it, everyone knows it. it worked, she got attention.
12:40 June 17, 2009 by ShaneW
Cant help but think this report has been dumbed down somewhat from what really happened?

I cannot believe the Police would arrest anyone for what is written about here.
13:39 June 17, 2009 by apostolos1975
Wait a minute, how do you interrupt someone by simply wearing a t-shirt?!?
13:44 June 17, 2009 by 7
i'd imagine that they only have a limited amount of information and it's strictly factual, so unless they want to offer a "hypothetical artistic rendition" they have to stick to the facts.

the arrested politician was likely already observed on her way in and security was instructed to remove them at any point they overstepped their boundaries. the observation balcony they were on is not a "public" viewing area needing to come from within the parliament access areas.
13:59 June 17, 2009 by 7
lots of ways.
14:42 June 17, 2009 by Puffin
The Swedish Parliament has a rule that attempts to steer voting MPs to vote in a particular direction is not allowed

The fact she stood up to reveal her anti-nuclear power slogan T-shirt to MPs at the precis moment that Parliament was voting on nuclear power was - according to her - a complete accident as she was merely trying to get a better view - which we all believe
05:04 June 18, 2009 by jimmyjames
One has to remember that although Sweden proclaims to be a progressive democratic society a more exact description would be a " Big Brother " type of system wherein the government protects its sensitive citizens from any speech or written language that might offend ANYBODY. You can not express an opinion against Jews, Gays, Lesbians, Africans,immigrants, ect. The only allowed opinions are the ones that conform to the " party line ". Sounds more like Stalinist Russia, Nazis, North Korea, ect. than a democratic free-speech type of country.
07:43 June 18, 2009 by Puffin
Do you know of any parliament where you are allowed to display campaign slogans inside the voting chamber?

But I guess that rational thinking would interupt a totally irrelevant but also totally predictable anti-immigrant rant
08:23 June 18, 2009 by 7
get it straight puffs. that was an anti-sweden rant. also interruptable by thought.
20:42 June 18, 2009 by Coalbanks
Visitors to the Riksdag are not allowed to offer visible or vocal support to a particular point of view represented in a debate.

She was wearing a t-shirt an anti-nuke slogan, that qualifies as "...visable...support ..." so the Riksdag security dealt with the matter as per the rules accepted by the Riksdag & which visitors are expected to know & comply with or face the consequences. Go to a Feminist or Green meeting with an anti-feminist slogan or a pro-nuke slogan & see how welcome you will be, eh?
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