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'Ban Swedish biker gang vests': Social Democrats

TT/The Local/dl · 17 Oct 2011, 08:36

Published: 17 Oct 2011 08:36 GMT+02:00

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“The vests are what these characters use to strike fear in those around them,” Social Democrat justice policy spokesperson Morgan Johansson told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“They signal 'I am a member of Hells Angels or Bandidos or whatever and I'm dangerous. If you don't obey me, I've got a bunch of guys behind me that will come and deal with you.'”

According to Johansson, who is also chair of the Riksdag's justice committee, by taking away motorcycle gang members' symbols, one also revokes “a large part of their violent capital”.

He has proposed giving officials in Sweden's 290 municipalities the authority to ban vests with controversial biker gang symbols from being worn in local pubs and nightclubs.

Up until now, the vests have received constitutional protections under Sweden's freedom of speech laws, thus scuppering local authorities' previous attempts to implement bans.

In June 2009, for example. Eskilstuna in central Sweden banned biker gang vests at area night spots by including a clause in alcohol regulations stating that guests would “not be allowed to bear clothing which shows membership to a gang or group which could be considered criminal”.

But a court nullified the ban, arguing it violated Sweden's speech freedom laws.

Nevertheless, Johansson believes that banning the vests could be a useful tool in the fight against organised crime.

“In weighing between, on the one hand, freedom of speech, and, on the other hand, the importance of combating organised crime, one must be ready to review legislation to make it possible for municipalities to have rules like these in the future,” Johansson told SvD, adding that society can't be “naïve” in the fight against organised crime.

Johansson's suggested biker gang vest ban was rejected by both the Left Party and the Liberals (Folkpartiet).

Story continues below…

“I don't believe in the idea at all. We have a constitution that we need to uphold,” Liberal Party justice policy spokesperson Johan Pehrson told SvD.

The far-right Sweden Democrats, however, expressed support for the idea, while the Christian Democrats also left the door open for a vest ban.

“Symbols are important means of expression for many criminal gangs and it's possible that it's time for a change,” said Christian Democrat justice policey spokesperson Caroline Szyber.

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

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Your comments about this article

08:59 October 17, 2011 by Keith #5083
Symbols are also an important means of recognition for non-criminal citizen who maybe like to have some advanced warning of the potentiality for anti-social behaviour from those approaching.

Note to pols: we stopped branding people on their foreheads a long time ago - but if people wish to wear a label that acts as a warning to others, then that is their choice.
09:02 October 17, 2011 by rybo1
Well, the idea is simply stupid.
09:29 October 17, 2011 by jvtx3232
This idea seems like anathema to the fundamental principles of freedom of speech & freedom of expression that we all hold so dear.
09:31 October 17, 2011 by robban70226
Hold your horses!! Just be careful in what you wish, It is the same law that protects everybody in the same principle, What about if somebody else wants to ban expressions regarding religion? Or ban anything regarding animal rights? Children crusades or tree huggers? What applies to all.
09:38 October 17, 2011 by J Jack
I like the patches, they are loud, badly designed and informative ... hey, there goes a smelly half sober criminal!
09:48 October 17, 2011 by HYBRED
I thought the Social Democrats were part of organized crime.

The mob's that run some of the nightclubs don't wear colors/symbols and do crimes just fine.

But besides all that, I am weary of anyone that wants to infringe upon rights.

I cannot help but think that the Social Democrats are not satisfied with the political contributions that the Hells Angels and Bandidos make to they're party.
10:08 October 17, 2011 by Addendum
Most criminals wear pants - No more pants! No more pants!
10:42 October 17, 2011 by joeyt
Somebody's been watching too many episodes of "Sons of Anarchy". I'd blame Holywood for making local politicians believe that movies are real.
11:44 October 17, 2011 by Grokh
it cant be that hard to throw those guys in jail when they are walking with gang uniforms.... -_-x
12:34 October 17, 2011 by brucifier
This is poppycock!

Hardly seen any patches in Sweden, and they are often old swedes trying to live out a dream, get real, they are no threat and the picture is from Australia!
13:05 October 17, 2011 by zooeden
Bring your patches out people, whoever you are, hells angels to punk, from nerd to heavy metals, from vegan to in favor of eutanasia, from I support Armstrong Foundation to I wear only Nikes... Take your patches out and stand for some of it...
14:21 October 17, 2011 by Opinionfool
"They [these jackets] signal 'I am a member of Hells Angels or Bandidos or whatever and I'm dangerous. If you don't obey me, I've got a bunch of guys behind me that will come and deal with you.'"

What about other uniforms that connote membership, danger and appeal to a larger group. Police apparel? MIlitary uniforms? Cleric garb? Bankers' pin-stripe suits? Or Motny Python's Hells Grannies! Ah now I'm frightened.
15:34 October 17, 2011 by Svensksmith
Most of the bikers wear beards. Ban beards,
17:18 October 17, 2011 by philster61
funny how I don't see anybody calling for the banning of the bhurka which it could be considered equally offensive......

Morgan Johansson's assumption of Bikers wearing vests is as ridiculous as Tomas Bodstrom's assumption that all men are rapists just because they are.....men.....
18:24 October 17, 2011 by Beavis
Ban the hit (jeans with suit jacket) and the suit. People who wear these in in gangs called "banks" who lie cheat an steal from hardworking citizens..far more than any biker gang ever will.
18:38 October 17, 2011 by Douglas Garner
I guess we will have to stop supporting our sporting clubs as well!

Many gangs (not necesarily cycle gangs) just use color as their symbol... red scarf, green shirt... etc. With this thought process, we will all be required to dress identically before long!
20:22 October 17, 2011 by Uncle
I say - ban all mustache that does not come beyond the mouth side borders! Bad association. Shall apply for both men and women.

Hopefully then social democrats would not be able finding a leader and disintegrate by themselves.
21:52 October 17, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Ha! Ha! have the Aussie bikies ridden all the way to Sverige?
22:17 October 17, 2011 by brucifier
Ban the aussies!
01:08 October 18, 2011 by Tony L
Not sure if this will help. HA and others are the so called 1% and needs to prosecuted if necessary. There was an article that a large portion of the bikers received benefits, what happened to the follow up, find names compare with database and if they have committed crime, witholding their pay. Easy done
02:20 October 18, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Just horse-whip the sissies.
05:51 October 18, 2011 by johnoleson
Horse-whip the sissies but what about the rough ones?
09:27 October 18, 2011 by rise
Ban clothes! In that way criminals will freeze to death (and everybody else with them). Problem solved.
14:48 October 18, 2011 by cogito
Ban politicians.
22:39 October 18, 2011 by Sayitt
they should seriously ban all bikes
06:10 October 19, 2011 by xexon
Look at it this way,

You know who they are if they're wearing their vests. If you're concerned about their possible criminal activity, having their vests removed will make them harder to watch. Yes?

Better the devil you know.

19:43 October 19, 2011 by Ben Mowbray
Geez... that's like the third time this year I've noticed that same stock footage of three AUSTRALIAN bikers... But I agree... better the devil you know.
23:17 October 19, 2011 by hughknows
Haha, 'Municipalities in Sweden ought to have the right to ban red ties and badges bearing symbols associated with socialdemokraterna in order to fight criminal fraud, an amused foreign poster on 'The Local' has suggested.'

n.b. - Criminal fraud: Deliberate hiding, non-disclosure, or suppression of a material fact or circumstance (which one is legally or morally bound to reveal) with intent to deceive or defraud in a contractual arrangement.

Socialists in massive big cracked glass houses shouldn't throw stones... especially at Australian bikers!
04:03 October 21, 2011 by Lucky Dog
"A picture says a 1000 words" (This one says 2000)

1000 about MC Clubs standing Together and 1000 about repeaters and cop roaches worldwide.

The picture is from Australia where they tried to ban Clubs, and the story is about Sweden wanting to ban Club Colors.

The repeater just used the picture they found I'm sure, but that speaks volumes.


Enough said!
05:02 October 22, 2011 by msaliassweden
@Lucky Dog, couldn't have said it better myself. :)
07:24 October 22, 2011 by Lucky Dog
The proposal comes from somebody belonging to an outfit calling themselves the

"Social Democrats" which by any reasoning would stand for social democracy. I

fail to see the democracy in the proposal to ban anything that does not suit the

taste of the day, it is by it's very nature UNDEMOCRATIC!! On the other hand

does this mean that the cops will not be allowed to gather together and wear

their uniform because again by their own reasoning they will beat you if you do

not obey and use their badges to intimidate the citizens into doing their

bidding, they are also far more criminal than any of the clubs. Yet another

politician looking to grab some publicity before the next election so they can

shout out to the sheep that they are looking after their safety. Hypocritical

political bullshit yet again!
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