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Anti-racism demonstration held in Stockholm to support footballer Jimmy Durmaz

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Anti-racism demonstration held in Stockholm to support footballer Jimmy Durmaz
A referee talks with Durmaz during the match against Germany. Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Grits/TT
16:49 CEST+02:00
Thousands of Stockholmers were expected to attend a demonstration on Friday showing support for Swedish footballer Jimmy Durmaz, who received racist abuse online after Sweden lost to Germany at the World Cup.

The protest will be held in Kungsträdgården in the centre of the Swedish capital, after police said on Tuesday it could not be held in the location originally planned due to security concerns.

Stockholm authorities usually charge 120,000 kronor to hold events in Kungsträdgården, compared to just 250 kronor for the original location of Sergels Torg, but the city waived the fee for the anti-racism demonstration. Earlier, the Swedish football team had offered to pay the cost to ensure the event could go ahead.

Durmaz received a series of racial insults and even death threats following Sweden's match against Germany, in which he gave away the foul that led to Germany's winning goal.

The hashtag '#backadurmaz' (Back Durmaz) was launched on social media in support of the football star, and the organization Locker Room Sverige, which campaigns against discrimination within sport and for which Durmaz is an ambassador, planned the demonstration.

"We'll show that love is always bigger than hate and racism," the organizers said on social media.

The event begins at 5.30 pm on Friday and will feature Swedish musical performances and speeches, including from Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin. Almost 10,000 people have registered their interest on the event's Facebook page.

There was a strong reaction both from the football team -- who stood behind Durmaz as he gave a powerful speech asserting his Swedishness and condemning racism -- and from politicians and members of the public back home in Sweden.

"When you threaten me, when you call me a "blatte" [a pejorative word for a dark-skinned foreigner], an 'Arab devil', a 'terrorist', 'Taliban', then you have gone far beyond the limit," said Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who emigrated from Turkey.

Several politicians spoke out against the threatening comments, with Sports Minister Annika Strandhäll wearing Durmaz's jersey in parliament in a show of support and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven labelling the insults "pathetic".

Meanwhile, Sweden achieved an impressive 3-0 win against Mexico in their third game of the World Cup group stages, winning their group and advancing to the knockouts, where they will face Switzerland.

READ ALSO: 'When Durmaz took us to the World Cup he was a hero, now he makes a mistake he's the other'

 

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