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Protestors end brown coal debate

Published tisdag 24 maj 2016 kl 15.47
Peter Wallberg/TT
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Tuesday protestors gathered outside the Riksdag in Stockholm where a debate about Vattenfall's planned sale of its German brown coal operations was interrupted. Photo: Peter Wallberg/TT
Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
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A man was detained for squirting ketchup. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

A parliamentary debate about Vattenfall's planned sale of its German brown coal operations was suspended after protestors began shouting slogans at the politicians taking part.

The TT news agency reported that one protestor sprayed something that looked like ketchup from the seats. "Låt kolet ligga" or "let the coal lie" chanted others.

The performance lasted about ten minutes after which the debate was declared over.

"I think you should follow the chamber rules," said Lise Nordin, energy policy spokesperson for the Green Party many of whose supporters want the party to try to block the sale and force Vattenfall to phase out the carbon-heavy energy source instead of selling it. Nordin had herself used the slogan "låt kolet ligga" during the debate.

TT writes that one male protestor screamed "this is the last chance" and "children in Africa are starving." He then shouted that the politicians had blood on their hands and squirted what looked like ketchup over a mezzanine rail into the chamber below. He was later detained by security guards.

Before the debate was interrupted, members of parliament discussed the controversial sale.

Jonas Sjöstedt, leader of the Left Party, said that the future of brown coal is the most important climate question Sweden faces. He called the prospective buyer, Czech EPH, a “rogue company” and said, “If the coal is taken out of the ground and burned then we are destroying the climate.”

The Social Democrat Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg emphasized that the deal is complicated. He points out that Vattenfall’s second quarter earnings are down 22-27 million kronor and that the loss will be even greater if the deal does not go through.

Lars Hjälmered, a Moderate MP, said that it is now up to the Social Democrats and the Green Party to decide if the sale goes through and that they can no longer blame the rest of the government.

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