Thousands join anti-racist protest in Stockholm
One voice became thousands. 17-year-old Felicia Margineanu's appeal on Facebook turned into a powerful demonstration against racism and xenophobia, in only a few hours.
Sergels Torg in Stockholm was covered in people chanting anti-racist slogans for an hour on monday evening. At the top of the stairs 17 year old Felicia Margineanu from Sollentuna stood. Disappointed and upset after the sunday's election, where the Sweden Democrats where voted into the parliament, she wrote on Facebook: Come protest!
And thousands came. The police estimate that more than 5000 joined up. The stairs and sidewalks around the square where filled, and most people had a hard time hearing Felicia when she said in a bad megaphone: "I am only 17 years old. Look what I have done. Imagine what we can do together!"
And everyone DN.se spoke to agreed. It's time to do something.
- I came here because a party with xenophobic views got 5.7 percent of the votes. It's our duty to gather and make our voices hears, to show that we don't tolerate them, Arvid Johansson, 22, says.
A bit further away stands Annika Blomberg, 49. It was obvious for her, too, to come to Sergels Torg to show her position.
- I was broken-hearted when I came home after the election was over. Since then I've thought about how the harassment in schools and in work places can grow now. When I got the text that there would be a protest I didn't hesitate. This is my way of showing that we do not tolerate this.
The crows around us is almost silent for a few moments, only to ley their collective voices grow in chanting only seconds later. At least 5.000 are here. But it might be a few thousand more than that.
- I'm wondering why not everyone's here, Nicolas Ferreira, 32, says. When I saw the notice on Facebook this morning 400 had said that they would come. When I left home 6.000 supported it.
Francisco Navarro, 32, saw Felicia Margineanu's appeal, too.
- I felt that it was better to react late than never. No one can be passive, we have to react to the Sweden Democrats and try to affect others. The parties have to realize that SD have stolen their values and changed them. It's time to take them back.
Catharina Ek, 25, stands in the middle of the crowd. The hour approaches 7, and the protest is dissolving calmly and tidily. A sign further away reads "No racists in the parliament".
- It was obvious to go here and show my support, she says. And her friend Emilia Cederberg, 24, agrees.
- It's hard to know how much you can change, but this is a way to try, at least.
On the stroke of seven, several hundred of the protesters move up towards Drottninggatan and further towards the Parliament. I follow them for a while. A girl with a megaphone shouts "No racists on our streets" and gets an immediate responce from the crowd surrounding her.
Målmedvetna och sammanbitna tågar unga och äldre vidare. Drottningatan ekar av slagord som inte känns hotfulla trots allvaret i dem.
Resolute and purposeful both young and old march on. Drottninggatan echoes with slogans that don't feel threatening, despite the seriousness in them.
(translated by me)
This was written almost immediately after the protest (it was there when I got home 2 or so hours after) and later estimates of the number of people there place the number as high as 10 000.