03 Aug 2023 at 18:56
An Eritrean cultural festival near Stockholm degenerated into chaos on Thursday. According to Swedish media, protesters stormed the site, after which they clashed with the police. Several people were seriously injured.
The festival has been taking place in the Swedish capital for years. The organizers are said to have been criticized in the past for inviting supporters of Eritrea’s dictatorial government.
This year, anti-government demonstrators were allowed to demonstrate in the area, but then advanced to the festival grounds. According to Aftonbladet, there were about four hundred demonstrators. “It was total anarchy, I have never seen so many police officers in my entire life,” a bystander told SVT Nyheter.
The police would have been pelted with stones, among other things. There are also reports of people using sticks as weapons, reports SVT Nyheter. The police turned out in large numbers and made about a hundred arrests.
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Total number of injured unclear due to ‘hectic’ situation
At least four people were seriously injured and three others suffered minor injuries, Region Stockholm reports. Chief physician Patrik Söderberg says the situation is hectic and the total number of injured is still unclear.
In addition to the injured, there is also a lot of material damage. Images show that vehicles and a tent are on fire. The authorities were forced to partially close a highway in the area, because fleeing people blocked the road.
There are more frequent clashes in Europe between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean regime, including in the Netherlands. Eritrea is located in the northeast of Africa and has been ruled by dictator Isaias Afewerki for decades.