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Statue handbag protest takes off

Published torsdag 19 februari 2015 kl 18.08
Peter Wieselgren vid Vattentorget i Växjö har fått en väska. Foto: Carina Bergqvist/ Sveriges Radio
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Peter Wieselgren at Vatten square in Växjö. Photo: Carina Bergqvist/ Sveriges Radio
Statues in Borgholm and Färjestaden with handbags.Photo: Susanne B Budge (Swedish Radio listener picture)
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Statues in Borgholm and Färjestaden with handbags.Photo: Susanne B Budge (Swedish Radio listener picture)
Here's another (Photo:SVT)
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Here's another (Photo:SVT)
And another. Photo: SR listener picture
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And another. Photo: SR listener picture
A sculpure in Växjö. Photo: Fredrik B Ekdahl/ Sveriges Radio
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A sculpure in Växjö. Photo: Fredrik B Ekdahl/ Sveriges Radio

The decision by councillors in Växjö not to erect a statue in the town depicting a woman hitting a neo-Nazi with a handbag has caused a minor public outcry.

Now statues in Växjö and other areas of the country have been adorned with handbags while several municipalities have offered to erect the statue in question.

The first reports of statues being adorned with handbags came from the island of Öland, followed by Växjö, where the oustretched arm on the Peter Wieselgren statue was given a white handbag. A scultpure of a bronze woman in the town has also a large handbag.

The new statue by artist Susanna Arwin, which is at the centre of the row, is based on an iconic photo from the nineteen eighties, which shows an elderly woman trying to hit a neo nazi with her handbag. The neo nazi was taking part in a far-right march in the town of Växjö, and the woman herself had relatives in Auschwitz, and was angry at the sight of neo Nazis walking the streets.

The photo itself is very well known in Sweden, and artist Susanna Arwin wanted to make a statue based on the photo, to be erected in the city where the event took place, but local politicians have so far said no, claiming the statue promoted violence.

Other local councils in the country have jumped in offering to take the statue, including Gothenburg, Malmö and Sigtuna.

The final decision about the statue will be taken by Växjö councillors on Wednesday next week, but Eva Johansson, of the Centre party, is not for turning, and told Swedish Radio News that she doesn't expect anyone else will change their minds.

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