Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of Sweden’s controversial anti-immigration party called Sverigedemokraterna, has been appealing for votes from Swedish citizens living and working in Norway. He blamed immigrants in Sweden for taking the jobs that have sent young Swedes to Norway to find higher-paying work.
With national elections looming in Sweden next month, Swedish politicians have taken their campaigns over the border, to reach the thousands of Swedish voters who now live and work in Norway. Åkesson attracted an estimated 200-300 spectators in Oslo on Friday, many of them demonstrators protesting what they called his “Nazi party Swedes.”
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that a few Norwegian sympathizers were also on hand with banners reading “Heia Jimmie” but claimed they didn’t belong to any organized group. Others turned their back on him when he started to speak.
“Why does Sweden have such high youth unemployment?” Åkesson asked before answering himself: “When Sweden gives residence permission to more than double as many immigrants as there are newly created jobs, yes, that’s what you get.”
One young Swedish woman, Sara Jonsson, was among those turning her back on Åkesson. “I believe everyone is is equal,” Jonsson said. “That’s why I’m here to demonstrate.” Jonsson, age 19, said she was starting a new job at a Swedish-owned Hennes & Mauritz warehouse on Monday.