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Police out in force for Pride as hate crimes rise

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Police out in force for Pride as hate crimes rise
13:13 CEST+02:00
Stockholm police are out in force this week to ensure that the Stockholm Pride festival passes off without incident at the same time as a recent report indicated that hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden.

The main event of Stockholm Pride week is the Pride Parade which is set to make its way through Stockholm's streets on Saturday.

But along with the some 45,000 revellers anticipated in Stockholm to celebrate the LGBTQ festival, representatives of far right and anti-Muslim groups are expected to stage protests.

Stockholm police have meanwhile confirmed that they are ready for all eventualities.

"We will make sure that we have staff who can handle the different scenarios that can arise," said Lars Byström at Stockholm police to the TT news agency.

A recent report by Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå) based on figures from 2011 indicates that the incidence of hate crime is on the rise in Sweden.

According to the report published at the end of June, the number of police reports of hate crimes increased by 7 percent in 2011 in comparison with 2010, to 5,490.

Some 16 percent of the reports concerned "homophobic, biphobic or heterophobic" crimes.

The vast majority, 72 percent, of reports concerned "xenophobic/racist" crimes.

The biggest increase was seen within the category "anti-religious motive", by 18 percent to 12 percent of the total.

Around one percent of the reports were classified as "transphobic".

Despite the rise in 2011, over the period from 2008-2011 homophobic hate crimes in fact decreased by 20 percent.

Among the hate crime statistics, threats and harassment is the most commonly reported, followed by violent crimes and defamation.

Violent crimes are however overrepresented with regards to homophobic hate crimes.

Furthermore the most common forum for hate crime offences is in public spaces.

Stockholm Pride begins on Tuesday and continues until continues until Saturday August 4th.

Following the financial fiasco of 2011 when Stockholm Pride was left with substantial outstanding debts, the festival has been moved from Kungsträdgården back to its old venue of Tantolunden on Södermalm.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Follow Peter on Twitter here.

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