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Politicians emphasise unity after the attack

Published lördag 8 april 2017 kl 19.53
Stefan Löfven: Our enemies are the terrible murderers, not each other
(3:24 min)
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven placing flowers and lighting a candle at the scene of the attack.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven placing flowers and lighting a candle at the scene of the attack. Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/TT

All the political battle axes were buried on Saturday, when politicians united in their condemnation of the suspected terrorist attack on Friday.

On Saturday, several party leaders turned up to place flowers at the scene of Friday's attack. And political unity in the condemnation of the attack is also what has characterised all the statements since. Here's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

"The aim of terrorism is to undermine democracy, and to sow dissension between people so that more are going to start hating and distrusting each other. But these deeds will never succeed in Sweden," he said

"We know that our enemies are the terrible murderers, not each other. And our message will always be clear: you will not make us give in, you will not steer our lives, you will never, ever win."

The leader of the biggest opposition party, Anna Kinberg Batra of the Moderates, said it is too early to start discussing new political initiatives that could stop future terrorist crimes.

"Today I want to emphasise that there has been a terrible attack and it is important that the police and not least the security police can do their job, and if it turns out that more is needed, or that there are some tools missing in their work, we will have to take that discussion then," she said.

And the leader of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party, Jimmie Åkesson, also spoke about unity.

"Unity and consensus increase in these kinds of situations and that is positive in the sense that we otherwise may find conflict lines in the political debate which may not have to be there,"

The liberal party leader Jan Björklund said that "this is not time for party politics" and the leader of the Crhistian Democrats, Ebba Busch Thor, even praised the prime minister for a "stabile and dignified" response. "We are united in this" she wrote on twitter.

The Swedish King, who had interrupted a trip to Brazil to retur4n to Sweden, following the attack, gave one of his rare speeches to boost the morale of the population.

"We are all shaken by what has happened," he said, but added that:

"We who want to help, are more than those who want to hurt us".

The only tangible political move came from Justice Minister Anders Ygeman. Membership of a terrorist organisation is not criminal in Sweden, as the freedom of association is enshrined in the Swedish constitution. But Ygeman said that he could imagine to look into criminalising "taking part" in a terrorist organisation.

"The most important part in sharpening society's ability to fight terrorist crimes is in the participation, meaning when you have been active in a terrorist organisation, but not in the armed part. I am not against criminalising the participation as such," he said.

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