Six people injured after violence linked to Swedish far-right
By Ylva Nilsson
Six people taking part in a small celebration of International Women's Day were injured on Saturday (8 March) in the Swedish town of Malmoe.
One of them, a 25-year old football supporter who has started an anti-homophobia section of the Malmoe football team, was stabbed and is still in a critical condition.
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Former Danish national team swimmer Charlotte Johannesen was also among the victims. She authored the book 'Disguised as a Nazi' about her time undercover with the far-right White Pride organisation in Aarhus, Denmark.
The police have three suspects in custody. Two of them are already known for their affiliation to the “Party of Swedes” and “Swedish Resistance”, both openly xenophobic and with roots in the Swedish Nazi movement.
Support for those attacked was immediate. Some 2,000 people took to the streets of Malmoe the next day. There were also several smaller gatherings in four other Swedish towns. Numerous others pitched in via social media, manifesting their opposition to right-wing extremists.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has condemned the attacks.
"Incidences of nazism and racism besmirch much of what people think is good about Sweden. It is now important that those who have used violence are brought to justice," he said in a statement.
Only a few weeks ago, seven young men stood trial for a violent attack on a local manifestation against the Nazi presence in Karrtorp, a suburb of Stockholm. Twenty six people were arrested at the time, several of them known members of the same organisations as in Malmoe.
That event led to 16,000 people turning up some days later to support the people of Karrtorp and to show their opposition to Nazism and racism.
Swedish Minister of democracy, Birgitta Ohlsson, has called for national coordinator to strengthen the different initiatives already taken against the extremists movements on the right. The head of the Swedish security police (Sapo), has been called to the parliament to answer questions about the situation.
The right extremist movement in Sweden is believed to be small but well-organized.
Sapo chief analyst of the extreme right movement, Ahn-Za Hagstrom, believes that the Swedish extreme right is not a threat to democracy as such but does pose a threat to individuals.
The Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party that currently has 5 percent of the seats in the Swedish Parliament, and is running for the first time for the European Parliament in May, has not commented on the attack in Malmoe.
The party has had to expel several of its members and politicians for making racist remarks. And lately it appears to be faring less well in the opinion polls, having recently lost 2 percent of the extra 5 percent it had won since the last elections almost four years ago.