A mass demonstration was held in Stockholm on Saturday denouncing the criminalisation of the Kurds and protesting against the Swedish government’s policy towards NATO.
The demonstration was organised by a coalition of organisations opposed to Sweden’s NATO membership, including the Swedish solidarity group Rojava Committees to “show solidarity with democratic forces worldwide, especially in Turkey”.
Gathered under the slogan “No to NATO – No alliance with fascists”, many of the demonstrators carried the flag of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a symbol of the defence of freedom of expression.
Speakers at the demonstration denounced the Swedish government’s cooperation with Turkey, saying that NATO is not a defence alliance, but an alliance of the war industry, that never in its history did Sweden want to be a member of such an alliance, and that it has broken its long tradition of peace with its bid for NATO accession.
Banners calling for freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, were also displayed as the demonstrators marched through the city.
The coalition had held two previous demonstrations in Stockholm this year before Saturday’s protest, in response to Sweden’s ongoing dialogue with Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised these protests as “unacceptable”.
In a diplomatic agreement reached in July, Sweden agreed to certain demands from the Turkish government, including the prosecution and extradition of Kurdish activists, in exchange for Turkey’s approval of the Nordic country’s accession to NATO after 200 years of neutrality.
The protestors argue that by joining NATO, Sweden will be serving the arms and war industries and not only threatening world peace, but also contributing to the destruction of the environment.