Ekeroth takes ‘break’ after new revelations

Ekeroth takes 'break' after new revelations
The Sweden Democrats on Thursday announced that justice policy spokesman Kent Ekeroth will be taking a break from his responsibilities after a Swedish newspaper published more secret footage of a 2010 scuffle.

“Kent Ekeroth has in agreement with the party leadership chosen to take a break from his responsibilities as the party’s justice policy spokesman. The reason is the situation which has arisen,” the party said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The new footage published by Expressen shows how Ekeroth, together with former party economic policy spokesman Erik Almqvist who resigned on Wednesday, and Stockholm city councillor Christian Westling, armed themselves with iron bars after scuffling with a drunken man.

In the film Ekeroth can be heard arguing with a woman, who reacted to Ekeroth filming her with his mobile phone camera, reaching out her hand saying, “Let go of that.”

“I can do whatever I like. Do you get that? Back off,” Ekeroth was heard saying, pushing the young woman into the side of a car.

Ekeroth then filmed how he, Almqvist and Westling scuffled with an inebriated man and then picked up large iron bars. When they heard sirens they returned to where the fight had taken place and explained to the officers that the man had threatened them.

The drunken man told the police that Ekeroth had struck the young woman but Almqvist is heard on film giving officers a different version:

“Keep him in, he threatened us…he was going to start on my friend but we got away and defended ourselves, but still, it was unpleasant,” said Almqvist on film.

The three Sweden Democrats decided not to press charges.

“Unless one of the others make a report just to be nasty,” said Almqvist, adding to the police that they should “do the work now instead” before the three politicians leave the scene laughing.

On Wednesday Åkesson had said that Ekeroth would keep his leadership positions within the party for the time being, but hinted the party may review Ekeroth’s place in the Sweden Democrats in the future. With the new footage, however, the party decided that Ekeroth’s chances of representing the party amid the scandal would be “very slim”.

According to party spokesman Martin Kinnunen, Ekeroth will make a public statement later on Thursday.

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