law change

Hope still alive for ban on motorcycle gang symbols

Some politicians are advocating that Sweden's districts should be allowed to prohibit motorcycle jackets bearing clear symbols, in restaurants and bars. The chair of the Parliamentary justice committee, Social Democrat Morgan Johansson, believes that imposing such a rule would be a weapon against organized crime.

Johansson says that the symbols on these jackets are essential to the gangs and form part of their "violence capital" that they use against other people to create threatening situations. Johansson gives the example of the Bandidos revolver-bearing Mexican or the Hells Angels' horned skull.

Several districts, among them Eskilstuna and Luleå, have tried instituting similar bans but were struck down in court because of free speech protections.

Johansson says that to succeed requires a change in the law, and sees it as an urgent matter, citing the increase of organized crime in Sweden.