A study by polling firm Demoskop has revealed that as many as three in ten Swedish politicians face threats and harassment, but the populist Sweden Democrats are disproportionately targeted.
In the study, Demoskop asked 4,279 municipal politicians across the country, “Have you been subjected to threats or harassment in connection with your political trust assignments during the past year?” and found that 29 per cent of the respondents said they had experienced threats in public or private, physical violence, or vandalism, Dagens Samhälle reports.
When the study looked at the populist Sweden Democrats (SD), the rate of politicians who have experienced threats or violence increased from 29 per cent to 47 per cent.
Emilia Orpana, group leader for SD in Nynäshamn, claimed she had even been the subject of a verbal attack on an election day.
“We stood outside a polling station and handed out ballot papers,” she recalled.
“Two guys felt provoked that it said Swedish Democrats on my shirt,” she said, claiming the two men threatened to kill her.
Panic: Swedish PM Brands Populist Sweden Democrats ‘Racist’ Before Sunday Elections, State Television Attacks Party Leader https://t.co/0WVTE5bDWk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 8, 2018
During the European Parliament election campaign, a 15-year-old boy who was aiding the Sweden Democrats was physically attacked by a group of people after attempting to capture a photo of one member of the group, who had previously assaulted him by throwing soda over him.
Several days after the incident, Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson was also targeted when an unknown individual threw a large firework known as a “banger” — outlawed in Britain — at his car following a campaign meeting.
Sweden is not the only country in Europe where populist politicians face threats, harassment, and violence. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has seen several acts of violence directed at them and their property.
This year alone, an AfD office in Döbeln was bombed and MP Frank Magnitz was brutally attacked by masked men with the far-left extremist Antifa group later allegedly taking credit for what some dubbed an attempted assassination.
German Populist Party Chairman Hospitalised in ‘Assassination’ Attempt https://t.co/zMJhJ7jEcM
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 8, 2019