European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Anti-racism in and outside Kärrtorp

Demonstration
Racist opinions and parties are gaining ground in Europe. Sweden is no exception. But December 22nd 2013 was an important day for anti-racism. Around 20,000 people came together in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp to demonstrate for the equal value of all human beings.

Open air meeting attacked

It started a week earlier, when a peaceful open air anti-racist meeting held in the same place had been attacked by around twenty members of the Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska Motståndsrörelsen). This is a neo-Nazi movement, and the individuals in question used brutal violence against those at the meeting, a group that included pensioners and families with children. There were no more than ten police officers in attendance, which was subsequently the subject of major criticism. The meeting, like the demonstration a week later, had been organised by the network “Line 17 against racism”. Several hundred police were in attendance at the demonstration.

Focus of much attention

For many thousands of people, it quickly became important to show that the attack had been unacceptable. Somewhere in the region of 20,000 made the journey to Kärrtorp two days before Christmas Eve in order to show their support for anti-racism.

 

All of the parliamentary parties – with the exception of the Sweden Democrats – were represented by senior party members. Those demonstrating included Stefan Löfvén, the Leader of the Social Democratic Party, Jonas Sjöstedt, Leader of the Left Party, Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd from the Moderate (Conservative) Party and Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag from the Liberals.

 

The event received a great deal of attention both in Sweden and abroad. Demonstrations were held in support of Kärrtorp in several other Swedish cities, including Eskilstuna, Borås, Luleå, Malmö, Motala and Östersund. The Swedish “No” to racism was very clear.

 

          Johanna Wester