High security as Orlando top of mind at Stockholm Pride

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High security as Orlando top of mind at Stockholm Pride
This man might not actually be a police officer. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Security will be high at this week’s Stockholm’s Pride festival, with last month’s massacre at a gay club in Orlando a reminder that gay and transgender people are potential targets for attacks.


But organisers told The Local that while security is high every year, there is no specific threat against this year’s festival, which starts on Monday.


“We have the utmost trust for the work conducted by the police, and we feel confident that this year will progress smoothly, without any major incidents. From this perspective, nothing is different compared to previous years,” said Christian Valtersson, chairman of Stockholm Pride, in a statement to The Local.


Stockholm Pride is the largest festival of its kind in the Nordics, with Saturday's parade through the Swedish capital frequently attracting over 600,000 spectators.


"Stockholm Pride has an internal department that works specifically with security matters, and we also work closely with the Swedish police to estimate all the different incidents or potential security related issues that could possibly emerge this year,” Valtersson added, emphasising the festival’s good safety record in the 18 years of its existence.


The shootings at the Pulse club in Orlando, in which 29-year old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting, have put the security of gay venues and festivals in the spotlight.  


Following the Orlando massacre, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced that he would take part in Stockholm Pride for the first time since coming to power in 2014. His predecessor Fredrik Reinfeldt marched in the parade in July 2014, six weeks before being voted out of office.


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