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Stockholm police end ‘racial profiling’ push

Swedish police announced on Friday that officers would no longer be asking public transport users for identification, after their past efforts to deport undocumented migrants were branded as racial profiling.

Centre Party MP Johan Hedin said last month that the push was “not only a crime against good taste, but also against the law and should stop immediately”.

Even though the police push was later found to be legal, officers decided to put a stop to the project on Friday.

They said that what was essentially a small part of the police’s work was being subjected to too much public scrutiny to be considered worthwhile.

The project entitled Reva, which stands for Rättssäkert och effektivt verkställighetsarbete (‘Legal and effective execution of policy’), saw officers allegedly targeting “foreign-looking” commuters on Stockholm’s underground railway lines.

Reva was blasted by politicians and immigrants’ rights activists alike who claimed officers were racially profiling.

Furthermore, nine out of ten people that police questioned turned out to have the right to live in Sweden.

Reacting to the presence of police in the Stockholm metro system, activists took to social media sites Twitter and Facebook to warn other commuters and map out where the officers were performing checks.

TT/The Local/og

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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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