Most of the sentences handed out is relating to participation in a riot, an event the prosecution claimed to be two separate ones as, according to them, the situation calmed down between the disturbances. This allows them to prosecute twice for the same accusation and therefore plead for longer sentences and steeper fines.
About 12 000 people found themselves in Kungsträdgården, central of Stockholm, during the protest two weeks before the Swedish Election. When the Police made attempts to disperse the crowd by spraying pepper spray and attacking protesters with truncheons, many decided to stay put and push back the attempts. Amongst the thousands of anti-racists in the area, a great number participated in one way or another in what the court claims to be riots. Out of these people, 15 were prosecuted and 13 sentenced to prison time.
By the preliminary investigation, it is clear that the Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) has provided information on who, according to them, is an active anti-fascist. SÄPO cooperating with the prosecution in pinpointing a small number of people out of a very big mass can not be seen as anything else than a political stance. They seized the opportunity to lock up and guilt anti-fascists inconvenient to them, even though a large number of people participated in the protests in the same way as the sentenced.
Eight people were given 4 months of prison, two got 10 months and the remaining three were sentenced to 3, 8 and 18 months each. Two people were acquitted. On top of the prison time, the sentenced will also have to pay a large amount of fines to officers who, although being covered head to toe in protective gear, claims to have gained multiple injuries whilst attacking the crowd with the said intention of dispersing it. The total amount of fines adds up to about €38 000/£27 000, although it is currently not clear whether appeals will be made from either sides.
A notable coincidence is that the day of the sentencing, the 17th of November 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of Joe Hill’s execution. Then, as now, progressive class struggle was coupled with risk of tougher sentences if you were active and organised in working towards radical change. Then, as now, the solution was never to mourn when repression hit us, but to organise resistance and solidarity. We cannot equally share the prison time given out, but we can do so with the fines. That is why we yet again are launching a solidarity fund and encourage everyone to reach in to their pockets according to means.
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