Saturday, January 14, 2012


I didn't talk about this yet because I wanted to share all the happy holiday feel good posts first but this is something Dale and I experienced I want to share. On December 10th when we visited the Christmas Market and watched the Nobel Ceremony we were walking around Gamla Stan when we were suddenly in the middle of a right wing extremist protest and counter protest. Here's pretty much the only news coverage I was able to find on the event (probably because I'm still using my English crutch):

Right wing extremist groups are clashing with counter protesters at Mynttorget in Gamla Stan, as the annual demonstrations were moved from Salem to Stockholm.

Chants and slogans could be heard as the right wing protesters were escorted outside the riot fence at Mynttorget. Police scattered one of the counter protest droves where groups such as Brittans damgympa and Aktion mot deportation participated.

Eggs, bottles and firecrackers come flying through the air as hundreds of counter protesters have come to interrupt the right wing protests.

"Right now it's quite chaotic. Several people have tried to get past the riot fence," said police spokesperson Diana Sundin, adding that several people have been arrested.

The atmosphere is very tense, news agency TT reported, and aside from the yelling and chanting, at least one boom has gone off.

According to police the boom came from Riksbron, but was caused by some form of firework, and nobody was harmed.

Police are doing their best to avoid direct confrontation between the two forces, but have allowed the counter protesters to stay temporarily at the Mynttorget before dismissing them.

"We might need to move them if they don't go voluntarily, but that's usually not necessary," police spokesperson Anders Gillander told TT.

Hundreds of counter protesters are gathered outside the Riksdag next to Mynttorget, and police have formed a human wall to control the crowd.

The first dozen right wing extremists marched right through the masses of counter protesters and were faced with chantings and pushes, which they responded to by yelling their own chants. About thirty police officers rushed to the site to avert fights.

The anti nazi network "Vi är 94 pro cent" (Literally: We are 94 percent) gathered hundreds of followers in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. The arrangers have held speeches and musicians have performed from a trailer.

Later the crowd of 500-1000 people started moving towards the Raoul Wallenbergs torg plaza, carrying placards saying for example "Stop right wing extremism".

Some are masked, but a majority are not. The crowd is under control, and a large number of police officers are following the march. From:
It was intense. One minute we were checking out the cute Christmas Market booths and the next we were stuck in a yelling crowd. We did not get hurt and the crowd wasn't violent but the feeling in the air was that things could turn violent at any moment. It was mostly scary for Dale and I not knowing what the protesters were chanting or what was happening. The vocabulary were words we had not encountered before and the lack of understanding was very confusing. Also, you almost never see police in Stockholm (well, in most of Europe) so to see a wall of policeman with swat cars everywhere and helicopters in the air we knew something big must be going on.

The far right extremists, from what I've learned, want to stop immigration and keep the culture intact. While the counter protesters believe everyone is equal. I had no idea about this division in Europe and this has been one of the more interesting things to experience in my year here. I always knew there were racists in the world and especially in the States so it's not surprising they are in Europe as well. But it has been surprising how big of a movement and how big the momentum is for the far right extremists in Europe. I'll definitely be following along to see how all this continues to develop!
Love Always,


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