Rally in Stockholm against Sweden’s accession to NATO

Demonstration in Stockholm against NATO membership and agreements with Turkey

Demonstration against Sweden’s membership in NATO and agreements with Turkey takes place on Saturday in the center of Stockholm, reports the newspaper Expressen.

As the newspaper reports, hundreds of people came out to demonstrate. The demonstration started on Stockholm’s central square Norra Barntoget. According to Expressen, among the numerous flags in the crowd one can see images of the Kurdish People’s Self-Defense Units (YPG).

Nordic News reported on Friday that Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Hard Course, received permission to hold a Quran-burning rally outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Paludan held the action on Saturday at 4 p.m. Moscow time.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the Quran burning in Stockholm shows the level of Islamophobia, racism and discrimination in Europe.
At the same time, Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson hopes that the dialogue with Turkey on security issues will continue at a later date.

Earlier in Stockholm there was a rally of supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), banned in Turkey, at which a number of offensive remarks and gestures were made against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. After the events, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Shentop cancelled a planned visit to Ankara by his Swedish counterpart. The Turkish president’s lawyer filed a complaint with Ankara’s main prosecutor’s office in connection with the action and a criminal case was opened. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said that the PKK action risked complicating Ankara’s ratification of Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

Finland and Sweden, against the backdrop of the events in Ukraine, submitted their applications for NATO membership to the NATO Secretary General on May 18. Ankara initially blocked the start of consideration of these applications, but on June 29, Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a trilateral security memorandum that addresses all of Ankara’s concerns. Turkey withdrew its objections to these two countries joining NATO. As of Oct. 6, 28 out of 30 countries had already decided positively to admit the Nordic countries to NATO, with the exception of Turkey and Hungary.

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