Sweden: CWI member wins ‘illegal demo’ court case

Last Wednesday, CWI member Kristofer Lundberg and every demonstrator in Sweden – past, present and future –won an important victory. The court in Gothenburg, Sweden, dismissed a case against him for organizing an ‘illegal’ demonstration.

He and his party, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna RS (CWI Sweden), had conducted a vigorous public campaign for this dismissal, gaining massive support from his workmates and youth in Hammarkullen, a working class and immigrant suburb in Gothenburg.

The case got widespread attention in the media. Local TV and the main Gothenburg daily newspaper reported on it, and the national daily Dagens Nyheter carried two articles.

Kristofer Lundberg never denied that he had participated in the demonstration. It was the 20 March, known as Day X, when US imperialism launched its attack on Iraq. Globally, millions participated in demonstrations against the war.

After organising a school students’ strike and demonstration with 1,000 youth, Kristofer Lundberg joined in another smaller demonstration, which passed the British consulate.

The police, who had secretly documented all his moves that day, stated that Kristofer was the organiser of this smaller demonstration as well.

The aim of the trial was undoubtedly for the police to establish a new, tougher implementation of the law – that all demonstrations must have police permission. This is despite the fact that the right to hold demonstrations is guaranteed in the country’s constitution. Police permission is only required if traffic will be disturbed etc. The police claim that the ‘public order’ legislation has been amended and that every demonstration needs police permission.

At the trial, however, neither the police’s video film nor the police officers testifying were able to identify Kristofer Lundberg as the organiser or leader of the demonstration. It was the same police officers who had filed the case in the first place, but now they were under pressure from the campaign and the mood in favour of protests. “The case is hereby dismissed”, the court said in its verdict.

Kristofer Lundberg and Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (he is the city chair of the party) had conducted a successful campaign. In Hammarkullen, he had got support from the staff at the ‘Peoples House’ and the labour movement education organisation, as well as from young people at the council youth club.

Half an hour before the trial, around 40 people participated in a street meeting in the city centre. Kristofer Lundberg was particularly happy with the solidarity greetings from Joe Higgins, the CWI TD in Ireland, himself in prison for his fight for justice.

This case was doubly important, as the police and courts in Gothenburg have been conducting a campaign of repression against demonstrators since the EU summit in June 2001. At the summit, the police provoked riots and arrested more than a 1,000 people. Up to now, more than 40 demonstrators have been sentenced for 40 years combined imprisonment!

This injustice has attracted growing attention. Less than a week before the trial of Kristofer Lundberg, a public debate was organised in Gothenburg in which Elin Gauffin of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS) was one of four activists debating against the police chief of 2001, Håkan Jaldung. This was also reported in local and national media.

For RS in Gothenburg the campaign of the last few weeks has strengthened the party. It has brought widespread respect for us in the area and a number of new people are interested in joining the party.

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