Swedish PM Löfven to skip Almedalen politics festival

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has again chosen not to attend the Almedalen political week this year.

Swedish PM Löfven to skip Almedalen politics festival
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at Almedalen in 2018. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

The PM told newspaper Aftonbladet that he would not take part in the event, which gathers political leaders and grass roots activists from across the country.

Taking place every July since 1968, Almedalen is a unique festival where political parties, businesses, media, and other organizations gather for a week of seminars and events.

“Almedalen has become too much the realm of lobbyists and business interests and not enough a place for popular movements and individual citizens,” Löfven said to the newspaper.

Instead of appearing at Almedalen, Löfven will embark on a tour of the country, as he did in 2017.

“I want to see all of our country and hear about the dreams, problems and challenges faced by different parts of the nation, and shape policy based on that,” he told Aftonbladet.

Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson, the Minister for Finance, will take Löfven’s place on the stage at the week-long political festival.

Almedalen political week is scheduled to take place between June 30th and July 7th.

READ ALSO: Almedalen: Sweden's summer politics extravaganza in numbers

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Swedish woman assaulted by Nazis at political festival

A man was held by police during Sweden's political festival Almedalen on suspicion of assault linked to hate crime.

Swedish woman assaulted by Nazis at political festival
The incident happened not long after members of the militant Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) attemped to disrupt a senior politican's speech. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Three women spotted a group of men whom they identified as members of militant far-right organization the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) on Wednesday evening, one of the women told Aftonbladet.

“I was so shocked that I said out loud 'oh, it's Nazis', and then one of them turned around and said ‘yes, in the flesh',” she told the newspaper.

A loud argument and a scuffle later ensued between the women and the other group, after the former went to get a rainbow flag and started shouting slogans about equal rights for everyone.

One of the women was then suddenly rugby tackled to the ground from behind. The attacker was immediately seized by a plain-clothes police officer on the scene who witnessed the incident.

The man is now being investigated on suspicion of assault linked to hate crime.

The incident happened shortly after Centre Party leader Annie Lööf addressed crowds in central Visby. Every day during Almedalen Week one of the leaders of each of Sweden's eight parties gives a speech and it is considered one of the most important events in the political calendar.

Lööf, who has among other things spoken out against more restrictive immigration policies, had barely started speaking when she was interrupted by a small group of NRM members shouting “traitor”.

“There's a group of Nazis over there. Let's listen to them for a while,” said Lööf. She paused but when the neo-Nazi group then fell silent in apparent surprise the audience laughed and she resumed speaking.

Any other attempts at interrupting the speech were drowned out by the audience, some of whom formed a wall of people between Lööf and the NRM, who were also held back by police.