Covid-19: Police break up restrictions protest in Stockholm

Bridge in Swedish capital blocked by police as hundreds of demonstrators asked to leave

Demonstrators face police as they take part in a protest in Stockholm on March 6th against Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings. Photograph: Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty

Demonstrators face police as they take part in a protest in Stockholm on March 6th against Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings. Photograph: Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty

 

Swedish police on Saturday started to disperse hundreds of opponents of coronavirus restrictions who staged a protest in the capital Stockholm in defiance of a ban on large gatherings.

Police blocked a bridge in the centre of the city and said on their website they were in dialogue with organisers to persuade demonstrators to disperse.

Television images showed police shoving some protesters, while the police said one officer had been slightly injured and taken to hospital.

“Police have taken the decision to break up the non-authorised gathering which is ongoing,” Stockholm police said on their website on Saturday.

Earlier this week, protest organiser Filip Sjöström told local media that he was expecting about 2,000 people to join the demonstration, which had been announced on Facebook.

Television images showed hundreds of people had gathered. According to the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, demonstrators had travelled from several parts of Sweden, which has a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people.

Sweden, which has 10 million inhabitants, registered 4,831 new coronavirus cases on Friday, and 26 new deaths, taking the death toll to 13,003.

The government said last month that it would cut opening hours for restaurants, bars and cafes and tighten limits on the number of people allowed in shops, in a bid to ward off a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The centre-left government has gradually tightened restrictions since late last year after keeping most schools, restaurants and businesses open, relying primarily on voluntary measures. – Reuters