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31 Aug, 2018 04:22

Swedish right-wing parliamentary candidate attacked by 'immigrant' during campaign meeting

A member of the Swedish right-wing Alternative for Sweden (AfS) party, who is currently running for parliament, says he was "punched in the face" by a young immigrant during an election campaign stop in Western Sweden.

It should have been an ordinary campaign meeting, which every party in Sweden holds ahead of the elections. But things went wrong for AfS in the city of Uddavalla, where the party, known for its hard-line anti-immigrant rhetoric, decided to make a stop.

A group of AfS members, including parliamentary candidate Markus Jonsson, was met by an angry crowd of young people, who were shouting, chanting slogans and holding placards that read: "Crush racism!"

As the AfS members started presenting their program, things quickly boiled out of control. The crowd of people, many apparently of immigrant background, started throwing eggs at the party members. At some point someone from the mob assaulted Jonsson and struck him to the ground.

An RT crew present at the scene filmed the incident. The AfS members had to immediately leave the place while police detained the attacker, apparently provoking further outrage. The video shows another young man engaging in a heated debate with a police officer in an apparent attempt to make the police release the suspect. Police told the Swedish media later that two persons were detained in connection with the incident.

"I tried to protect my friend and colleague and that immigrant started hitting both of us in the face," Jonsson later told RT, explaining that the assailant first attacked another party member, prompting the parliamentary candidate to intervene. He went on to say that the crowd chased a car belonging to AfS for some time. "When we stopped at the red light, they kicked the car," he added.

The locals explained that they did not want to see "racists on our streets" and were extremely "unhappy" about the AfS agenda, which involves "taking down all immigrants." "Many immigrants here feel like they are not included in society," one of the protesters told RT.

In a separate incident, two young men attempted to pelt the leader of another right-wing party, the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, with eggs and tomatoes during his own campaign stop in the city of Falkenberg. However, they were promptly stopped by the police. The incident led to a scuffle.

"One person was arrested for violence against a public official," Western Police District spokesman Stefan Gustafsson said. Akesson himself took the incident lightly as he said that "someone was so kind to give him a tomato" and it "tasted good."

The AfS is an upstart party formed just about a year ago by members of the youth wing of the Sweden Democrats after they were collectively expelled. The AfS then took an even more extreme stance on immigration and suggested repatriating a significant number of immigrants from Sweden to their countries of origin, as well as closing the borders.

AfS leader Gustav Kasselstrand once said that he took inspiration from Europe's other right-wing anti-immigrant parties, such as Alternative for Germany, which apparently influenced the name choice, as well as Austria's Freedom Party  (FPO) and France's National Rally (formerly National Front).

Tensions are high in Sweden ahead of the general election, which is scheduled to take place in ten days. Sweden's biggest and oldest Social Democratic Party is set to get one of its worst results in history while the nationalist Sweden Democrats enjoy record support and might well end up second.

Sweden is far from the only country where right-wing sentiment is surging on the back of unwelcome immigration. This week, Germany saw a wave of protests in the city of Chemnitz following the murder of a German man, allegedly committed by two asylum seekers. Clashes between right-wing protesters and leftists left some 20 people injured, according to the police.