Bertil Ericson/TT
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT.

Åkesson denounces fires on Facebook

2:06 min

The Sweden Democrat's leader, Jimmie Åkesson, has made a first comment on the string of fires around the country set at buildings meant to house refugees.

The leader of the anti-immigration party, the country's third largest, denounced the fires in a long post on Facebook, according to Swedish Television news. He said "There is a lot in our country which is crazy" and asks "What could you hope to achieve by setting fire to buildings and risking the lives of innocent people?" He did however take the chance to opine about the government's politics.

The Facebook post comes three days after Åkesson cancelled an interview with Swedish Radio's news program Studio Ett at the last minute. The acting head of the show, Nina Brenner, told daily tabloid Expressen that SD did not want to answer questions about their local presence in the southern city of Lund and the known locations of buildings meant to house refugees. Last week, the Lund chapter of the party published maps and lists of the locations of such buildings in the Lund Municipality, on their Facebook page.

"It would have been interesting to hear what he had to say," said Brenner to Expressen.

The chairman of SD in Lund, Ted Ekeroth, defended the publication saying it was meant "to inform citizens so that those who wish to can complain and react." Many in the party criticized the Facebook entry.

The Sweden Democrat's press department also commented on the Facebook listings in an email to Swedish Television news.

"We have spoken with SD in Lund, and their intention is obviously not to encourage fires, but the aim has been to want people to be able to appeal against the building permits."

In his Facebook entry Åkesson distanced himself from any arsonists.

"The truth is, you who are doing this aren't achieving anything," wrote Åkesson. "You're destroying society. You are attacking society's roots. Don't you see that? Are you so self-absorbed you can't see what the larger context? We all bear a responsibility for how society is developing (...) But you bear personal responsibility for how you give voice to your opinions."

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