The wave of violence at Eritrean festivals linked to TPLF, revealing Western complicity and values at stake.

The City of Stockholm Approves Eritrean Cultural Festival 2024

News

“Municipal political decisions must not limit the freedoms and rights protected by the constitution,” says Anders Österberg (S)

The City of Stockholm has given the go-ahead to the organizers of the ‘Festival Eritrea Scandinavia‘ to proceed with this year’s cultural event despite silly opposition from some politicians, according to a report by Mia Tottmar for the Dagens Nyhether news paper.

Anders Österberg from the Swedish Social Democratic Party (S) defended the decision by stating that, “the opportunity for politicians to say no to public events is non-existent.”

He emphasized the importance of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, association, and assembly.

In March, a certain Ole Jörgen Persson (M) from the Moderate Party threatened to do everything in his power to stop the annual Cultural event from taking place on municipal land in Järva, declaring, “It’s the end of the festival now.”

"It's about fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, association and assembly," says Anders Österberg (S).
“The space to restrict land use for public events because of disliking or sharing an opinion is non-existent,” says Anders Österberg (S). Photo: Thomas Karlsson / www.dn.se

However, Österberg warned that municipal political positions must not restrict constitutionally protected rights and freedoms.

“The legislation is very clear. The space to restrict land use for public events because of disliking or sharing an opinion is non-existent,” he emphasized.

The Eritrean Festival in Scandinavia has been held at Eggeby farm on Järvafältet since the 1990s. Last August, however, violent protests erupted when an anti-Eritrea militant diaspora group known as ‘Brigade Nhamedu‘ violently disrupted the festival. They threw stones and set tents on fire, resulting in dozens of festival participants being seriously injured.

Österberg condemned such violence, stating, “We condemn all forms of violence and expect everyone to abide by the democratic rules of the game. But it would be a dangerous path to deny permission because there has been violence in the past.”

The Moderates maintain that the municipality has a veto on issues related to leases on the city’s land for public events, based on the Public Order Act.

Christofer Fjellner (M), group leader for the Moderates in Stockholm, stated, “The Moderates’ opinion is clear – we do not want the festival to go ahead because the organizer has links to the Eritrean dictatorship and last year’s festival led to riots, violence, and vandalism. Of course, the City of Stockholm should not support activities and values that divide society and undermine the values on which it rests.” [TN]