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Palme was 'the best politician we ever had'

TT/AFP/The Local · 28 Feb 2011, 16:58

Published: 28 Feb 2011 16:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Feb 2011 16:58 GMT+01:00

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"It's hard to put words to how I feel. I am so sad," Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin told reporters after carefully laying a large wreath of red roses -- the symbol of their party -- on the snow-covered ground in front of a simple granite tombstone bearing only Palme's signature.

"He was big. He was Sweden. He was our voice," she said, standing in the Adolf Fredrik church cemetery in central Stockholm, where around 100 people had gathered, lighting candles and laying down roses.

"I feel sad because 25 years have passed when he could have been here, participated, debated and inspired," she added.

Shortly after leaving a downtown cinema in Stockholm to walk home with his wife Lisbet on the evening of February 28, 1986, Palme was shot twice in the back by a lone gunman. Lisbeth was also grazed by a bullet.

The attacker ran off, taking his .357 Magnum revolver with him and leaving Palme in a pool of blood on the snow-covered sidewalk at the corner of what has since been renamed Olof Palme street. The gun has never been recovered.

The murder, which sent shockwaves through Sweden, has never been solved despite hundreds of thousands of leads over two and a half decades.

In an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR) broadcast on Monday, Palme's widow said she is certain she had identified the murderer for police.

However, she didn't want to discuss any specific memories from that fateful night, or answer any specific questions about the identity of the killer.

In her mind, she's already said all that needs to be said about the death of her husband.

But when it came to Palme's politics, Lisbet praised her husband's work for world peace and child education.

She is convinced that if Palme were alive today, he would be engaged in refugee issues.

The case had been set to be filed away for good Monday, but Sweden last year scrapped its 25-year statute of limitations on murder, and the investigation continues.

On Monday at the scene of the killing, on the busy Sveavägen in central Stockholm, passers-by placed red roses on a bronze plaque in the ground marking the spot where Palme fell.

"It felt important to come here today. This is where our innocence was lost," Ingrid Landvall, 66, told AFP, recalling how she and her daughter had unsuspectingly exited the underground train station right across from the scene a few hours after the murder.

"There was still a lot of blood on the ground, and some police tape... Everyone was in shock," she said.

Story continues below…

"This is still an open wound in Sweden," she said, adding "whenever I pass this spot, I look up the stairs (where the murderer was last seen fleeing on foot) and think: 'that is where the answers disappeared'."

A few steps away, amid the flowers and candles in the Adolf Fredrik cemetery, Lea Skonberg, 50, described Palme as "the best politician we ever had."

"It's heart-breaking that this case has never been solved," she said.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:43 February 28, 2011 by eltechno
I haven't a clue what kind of politician Palme was for Sweden. But here in USA, where for those of us who were trying to organize a movement to stop the insane attack by USA on Vietnam, Palme was a HERO! There were damn few politicians anywhere willing to stand up to our government and say what was blindingly obvious--that the actions of USA in SE Asia were criminal in intent and execution.

Of course, there is a reason why there are so few brave political leaders--they tend to get killed as an object lesson to the rest. Any tiny Sweden lost three great ones--Folke Bernadotte, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Olaf Palme.

Blessed are the peacemakers.
18:01 February 28, 2011 by fauconbleu1000
Sure he was the best...
19:28 February 28, 2011 by Lukestar1991
The best at maintaining corrupt double standards without a doubt.
19:49 February 28, 2011 by Gabin
R e s p e c t .
20:29 February 28, 2011 by Zala Russe
Whatever you think/ thought about the guy's politics, acknowledge the fact that he was gunned down by a foreign sponsored agent with no respect for democracy and freedom who wouldn't give a nickel for what your opinion was, one way or the other. Celebrate his life rather than his death. He was someone who didn't beleive that to be a democratic leader requires isolation from the people behind motorcades, armor-plated vehicles, and gun-toting defense forces.
20:40 February 28, 2011 by superturbo
Palme didnt seem to care much about democracy, considering he teamed up with commies all over the world back in the days...
20:57 February 28, 2011 by Gabin
spassiba Zala.-.
22:22 February 28, 2011 by Investor612

A hero to American traitors.

That's some epitaph.

Palme's misguided advocacy emboldened totalitarian Marxists around the world. File under" useful dupe."
22:26 February 28, 2011 by eltechno
Investor 612

If you think opposing the Vietnam war was treason, you are one sick mother******!
22:55 February 28, 2011 by Gabin
Who can seriously think in the world that USA is still an example to follow,,,

It is so strange,,, to feel the waves of hate against Julian, Olof or Charles- de Gaulle-
23:12 February 28, 2011 by wenddiver
eltechno- Investor612 is just saying what the great majority of Americans believe. If you don't believe me look at how quickly John Kerrys boat sank after it came out that he was part of the anti-war movement. The real victims of the Vietnam war were the Boat People and Cambodians who were killed by the millions in the Killing Fields by the Communists after the US left.
14:52 March 1, 2011 by tgolan
I agree with the statment Palme "The best at maintaining corrupt double standards without a doubt. " he operated like a sect leader
17:01 March 1, 2011 by flintis
Not to speak ill of the dead, but Sweden is in the sorry state it is today because of Palme & his politics.
03:53 March 6, 2011 by Observant
Why is it that people are all too ready to blame outsiders for Olof Palmé's assassination.

If the investigation concentrated on the SWEDISH issue in the first place then much of the tax payer's money would have been saved instead of spent on fruitless investigations. Such investigations were carried out by idiots, non-experienced police officers and lead by a person who had NO idea how to lead an investigation. Just listen to his press conference a few days after the assassination.

Joachim Palmé is so VERY WRONG in believing it was Christer Pettersson who was responsible. Pettersson was just a scapegoat used by the police to "clear up the books".

All the police need to do - even to this very day - is to concentrate on Lisbet Palmé's remarks AT THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINATION and work on that.

The Swedish Police are too afraid to ask the RIGHT questions. Why? Because THEY already KNOW who actually pulled the trigger that night. That man is still with us. He is extremely clever but his time will run out sooner or later.
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