• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden Democrats face wave of silent protest

TT/The Local/pvs · 17 May 2014, 14:20

Published: 17 May 2014 14:20 GMT+02:00

Anti-racist sentiment is strong in Sweden as the European elections approach with the Sweden Democrats (SD) often the target of mass protests - at times silent and at times vocal.
 
"It is possible to see a very strong anti-racist mobilization of civil society. Much of the involvement appears to occur without traditional organization, people have come together in schools, workplaces or in demonstrations to act against what they see as a growing threat," according to Umeå University researcher Jan Jämte. 
 
Umeå in northern Sweden is set to be the latest city to greet the Sweden Democrat's election campaign with a show of defiance on Monday, according to a report in the local Västerbottens Kuriren daily. The newspaper reports that the city's school-children are to feature strongly in a silent protest against SD party leader Jimmie Åkesson.
 
The protests have taken different forms and participants have varied from the general public, to fire-fighters, to university and hospital staff, to church-goers and left wing extremists. Åkesson was forced to call off attempts to hold a speech in Gothenburg last week due to the noise created by demonstrators.
 
The Gothenburg demonstrations however drew criticism from politicians such as Åkesson and Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt, as well as influential journalists, such as Dagens Nyheter's (DN) Hanne Köller.
 
"Those who believe that he must be silenced must, it is fair to say, lack confidence in their own counter-arguments and in other people's ability to see through the party's xenophobic and simplistic world view," she said in a leader article on Friday entitled "Stop cultivating SD's martyrdom".
 
Åkesson has meanwhile attempted to blame the disruption on left wing extremist groups and while these are recognized to be present, the scale and breadth of the protests have indicated that the sentiment is far more widely felt among different groups in society.
 
"If you stand and shout and disturb a political meeting and throw things, then you are by definition extremist... then you are against democracy and freedom of expression," Åkesson said after the Gothenburg demonstration.
 
Despite some exceptions, the Sweden Democrats have however managed to carry out most of their planned meetings with protests typically taking the form of massed ranks of locals silently turning their backs on the party's representatives.
 
On Friday some 1,000 people turned out in Gävle in northern Sweden in Friday, with many turning their backs as Jimmie Åkesson rose to speak. The silent protests followed similar actions in cities and towns spread as far and wide as Eskilstuna, Södertälje, Jönköping, Kungälv, Nässjö, Karlstad, Malung, Karlskrona and Arboga. 
Story continues below…
 
The demographic and geographic spread of the protests has persuaded some experts that the party stands to suffer at the polls.
 
"Lots of factors influence an election, this is probably one that can weigh down the party," said political science professor Jonas Hinnfors.
 
The picture of SD's election campaign as one met solely by counter-demonstrations is inaccurate however with the party's representatives also attracting groups of enthusiastic supporters at every stop along their nationwide tour.
 

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

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by Lernia
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Photo: Lernia

Struggling to learn Swedish? There are a few ways to make it easier. Here are seven tips from the experts.

Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
It was a good year for the likes of Jonas Jonasson (left) and Camilla Läckberg (right). Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Henrik Montgomery/TT

From Nordic Noir to a hundred-year-old man (and one called Ove), Sweden's authors had a good year in 2015.

Sweden named world's sixth most competitive country
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

The Swedish celebs you really should not google
'Oh no, don't tell me I just clicked on THAT link.' Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

These are the world's most dangerous viral Swedish celebrities, according to a new report.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

US election
What Americans in Sweden think of Trump and Clinton
The Local spoke to Americans in Sweden after the first US presidential debate. Photo: David Goldman/AP/TT

The Local spoke to four US voters based in Sweden about who they are planning on voting for in the November election, and it looks like it's complicated.

Presented by Emirates Center for Strategic Studies
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
File photo: sanjitbakshi/Flickr

As Sweden prepares to take a seat on UN Security Council next year, Abu Dhabi-based scholar and author Dr. Jamal Sanad al-Suwaidi argues for a greater UN role to fight extremist ideologies like those that fuel Isis and other terror groups.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,961
jobs available