Sweden: Weekend demonstrations lash out against Swedish Foreign Minister

Jan 18, 2012, Stockholm (Radio Sweden)Protestors demonstrated against foreign minister, Carl Bildt, in several Swedish cities Saturday, to express their disapproval with how Bildt and the government have handled the case of two Swedish journalists who were recently convicted to serve 11 years in prison in Ethiopia for supporting terrorism.-

Some 300 people gathered in Sergels Torg in Stockholm, about 250 in Gothenburg, som 60 in Malmö and about 30 in Helsingborg.

Several of the protestors carried placards demanding the foreign minister’s resignation.

“But that’s not an official demand from us, the organizers. With the demonstrations, we simply want to highlight the question of how Bildt and the government have acted and what people are doing to help the two Swedes. We want Carl Bildt to be more open and answer some questions,” one of the initiators, Damon Rasti, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Bildt sat on the board of the Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum when it decided to drill for oil in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, and the two journalists, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, have both testified they were there to report on that company’s oil activities.

Many have criticized Bildt for being too passive about helping the imprisoned Swedes and for possibly having a conflict of interest.

His press secretary, Anna Charlotta Johansson, told Dagens Nyheter, “We are aware that demonstrations have taken place. It’s a natural part of our open Swedish society that people get engaged. But it’s built on misunderstandings. The government has been clear that they should be released.”

Last week, Bildt met with the families of the two journalists.

–Source: Ogaden Net