File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Thousands support truck-driver protest in Sweden

Truck drivers plan to bring their vehicles to a halt for 15 minutes every day until Christmas to protest the release of a Macedonian driver caught with a fake license and ID.

Over 100 people have appealed the verdict by the Sundsvall district court in northern Sweden, local newspaper Sundsvalls Tidning reports, and truck drivers now plan a nation-wide, coordinated protest.

On Wednesday, the court freed the Macedonian truck driver, who was arrested last month after being caught carrying a fake Bulgarian passport, a fake ID and a fake driver’s license.

The man, 44, is the latest in a string of similar cases, according to a transport workers’ union magazine, which reports that another Macedonian driver was caught with fake Bulgarian documents in September. He later admitted to buying his license in Macedonia. Driver’s licenses are apparently also available for purchase on the internet.

Kenneth Jaktlund, a driver from the northern town of Umeå, plans to take part in the protest and told Sundsvalls Tidning: “This is a protest against the verdict to show that we care about traffic safety. We also want to send a message to the police that we want change so that their work becomes more meaningful and more effective.”

To date, around 4,300 people have signed a petition titled “Equal terms for Swedish road carriers”. Signatories demand the same rules and terms for everyone driving in Sweden, regardless of nationality. They also take issue with the district court’s decision to free the 44-year-old Macedonian driver, who worked for a Swedish firm and drove a truck registered in Sweden when police stopped him.

 “We’re calling on drivers from all over the country to join in. Right now, I don’t know how many will take part in the protest, but hopefully many will join us,” Jaktlund said and added that he hopes the protesting drivers will get a lot of attention.

The petition signatories also vowed to park their vehicles on the shoulders of the roads and not to disrupt traffic.

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