Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001
What happened in Gothenburg?
translation of Swedish report

[Translation from ]

CORRECTION — The police has provoked and used severely exaggerated violence
against demonstrators.

Gothenburg, Thursday: Hvitfeldska Gymnasium was stormed

On Thursday the police provoked opponents to the European Union who had
arrived at the Hvitfeldska Gymnasium, by locking them in for several hours
without any explanation. In solidarity with those locked in, people gathered
outside. Conflicts arose because of the whipped up atmosphere and the
refusal of the police to any dialogue. The people who were locked in tried
to leave after five hours in order to participate in the Bush protests. They
used offensive non-violence methods — the white overalls went first and
pressed against the police chain, WITHOUT ANY WEAPONS. The break-through
attempt failed, however, and the group decided to return to the school. At
that point the police attacked with batons, horses, and dogs. Some
demonstrators tried to defend themselves by throwing stones while fleeing
back into the school. During the evening they voluntarily left the school
with their hands above their heads and let themselves be detained. Many
would sit locked in into busses at the police station for 12 hours without
food; some were locked in into cells for interrogation and some were
arrested. The police searched the school  for weapons, but there were not
any. They found sticks for banners and empty soda bottles — the police call
this weapons.

Gothenburg, Friday: The riots at the Avenue

On Friday, police blocked off the big, peacefully intended rally as soon as
it had left the Gota Place. Young, old, small children, people with masks,
hippies, all were surrounded by heavily armed riot police. Confusion arose
among the demonstrators. After a while the police attacked with horses. They
rode straight into the crowd with whips, causing panic among the
demonstrators. The rally was pushed back towards the Gota Place. Masked
demonstrators began throwing stones towards the police, and shops along the
Avenue were sabotaged in protest against the violation of the right to free
speech and opinion, the European Union, and the ruthless profit greed of
capitalism. The two persons who threw the first stones were later seen to
pass the police road blocks without hassle after  showing their IDs — they
were civilian police.

I afternoon, unaware people were being attacked in the parks by riot police.
Some were pushed together on a bridge and brought away by bus.

The street party shot sharp at

For the evening a street party had been planned and youth gathered at the
Vasa Place to dance, socialize, and listen to music. Nazis attacked them,
but were turned away. Police soon surrounded the party and began pushing
people up towards the Vasa Park. Riots ensued. The police made attacks with
raised batons and many horses, while demonstrators defended themselves with
stones from the street, which police threw back. Some were intoxicated
(having come to join a party) and were very much provoked by the attack of
the police. At one moment of the stone throwing, a police man pulled his gun
and fired several shots straight into the crowd. Three persons were injured
by the shots, one of them so seriously that his condition is still (read:
Sunday evening) critical. The riots continued until a samba orchestra got a
party going in the park. At midnight people left the party for their homes..
Along the way, many were harassed by police. They were pushed up against
walls, beaten, mocked, and subjected to physical sexual harassment. There
were rumors that the police was going to storm all schools, so many were too
afraid to sleep that night in the schools they had paid for to stay at.

Gothenburg, Saturday: Calm, broad demonstration

On Saturday morning, between 20,000 and 25,000 opponents to the European
Union gathered in the Slotts Park. The slogans were about opposition to the
European Union, the European Monetary Union, the Schengen Accord, and
environmental destruction, and behind them joined both Attac and SP as well
as the Syndicalists and Anti-Fascist Action (AFA). The demonstration
occurred entirely peacefully, much thanks to that the police kept away and
did not make any provocations with horses, dogs, road blocks, and attacks.
At 7 p.m. a couple of hundred people gathered at the Iron Square to protest
against the exaggerated violence and mass arrests of the police. Riot police
with dogs and horses soon surrounded the area. The crowd stayed calm, sat
down, and called “no violence” and similar things. The police refused to let
anyone out or give any explanation of why they were being held. They
screamed at and pushed those who went too close to their road blocks. Most
people were released after being  searched, but some were arrested
arbitrarily and brought away by bus. After five hours some 150 demonstrators
were still being held, but the calls for solidarity from outside only grew.
“The people united will never be defeated”. Finally the police backed away
and the demonstrators cheered and danced for a while, after which the
manifestation dissolved.

School stormed with automatic weapons

At 10 p.m. the Schillerska Gymnasium was stormed by the National Insats
Force, which used masks and automatic guns while forcing the 78 sleeping,
eating or resting activist who were in the school outside. All were forced
down onto the ground, where they were ordered to lie completely still
against the wet asphalt for over an hour. Whoever moved, spoke or asked what
they had done wrong was beaten  and kicked. Some were arrested and taken
away in vehicles, the others were released after being filmed and
registered. They were not allowed to pick up their things inside.

The truth of the media is not self-evident

The police maintains that they only protected themselves and the city
against stone throwers when they beat and shot at people. Some Gothenburgers
say that hooligans have destroyed their city. But no activists, no
demonstrators, not even any stone throwers started this war. They have only
defended the right to free speech and their own lives, against uniformed,
heavily armed men who obey preposterous orders and shoot sharp against
demonstrating crowds of people.
Hopefully, readers of newspapers understand that it is only one group of
people (those who own newspapers and  seats in the European Union
parliament) that is allowed to speak about what happened in Gothenburg. The
information gets distorted. Don't let yourselves be fooled — read other
peoples' versions as well! On the internet, there is the independent
newswire IMC: and . Be critical about the sources, listen to eye
witnesses, reflect, and then form your own opinions.

göteborg | actions 2001 |