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RACISM

White power groups set for election year push

White power groups were less active in Sweden in 2009 than the previous year, according to anti-racism foundation Expo’s annual report. But the movement is expected to increase its efforts in the run-up to the autumn general election.

White power groups set for election year push

Last year an estimated 40 white power groups attracted members across Sweden, roughly the same number as the previous year. But there was a considerable dip in the number of visible activities carried out by these groups, such as public demonstrations and the distribution of leaflets.

Expo and the Swedish Security Police, Säpo, share the view that extreme groups on the left and right are likely to become more active this year, with an election coming up in September.

“These groups’ activities generally do increase when there’s an election,” said Säpo spokesman Patrik Peter.

On Wednesday two people were stabbed while handing out flyers for Svenskarnas Parti (‘Party for Swedes’) in Hallstahammar, 130 kilometres west of Stockholm. Four people identified as representing groups on the extreme left were arrested for attempted murder.

Three days later a demonstration by Svenskarnas Parti in nearby Västerås attracted 150 to 200 supporters. Two people were injured when clashes broke out with around 100 counter-demonstrators.

Expo editor Anders Dalbro highlighted the fact that Svenskarnas Parti, unlike many of their counterparts, will be running for election this year.

“For them it’s going to be a very active year. But organisations not running for election also benefit from the fact that it’s an election year,” he said.

According to Expo’s annual report, set for publication this week, the white power movement was hit by internal divisions in 2009.

“This is most noticeable when it comes to joint demonstrations, which previously attracted a lot of people,” said Dalsbro.

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RACISM

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize

The international civil rights movement Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation on Friday won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020.

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize
A Black Lives Matter protest in Malmö, June 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The foundation was honoured for its work promoting “peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence all over the world,” prize organisers said in a statement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013 in the United States, has “in a unique way exposed the hardship, pain, and wrath of the African-American minority at not being valued equal to people of a different colour,” the statement said.

The movement had its major international breakthrough in the summer of 2020 following several cases of extreme brutality in the US, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Sweden's anti-racism protests aren't just about what's happening in other countries

Prize organisers noted that an estimated 20 million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in the US alone, and millions more around the world.

“This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem.”

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $100,000 awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund.

It commemorates the memory of Sweden's Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

Since 1987 the award has honoured human rights defenders around the world including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

An online prize ceremony will take place in Stockholm on Saturday.

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