Left-wing extremists have threatened to storm the book fair. The main exhibitor was the oppositional newspaper Nya Tider, which has been banned from the Gothenburg Book Fair after it was deemed not politically correct by the cultural establishment.
“There is no democracy in Sweden. The police have the obligation to uphold free speech and the right to meet freely. Now they let an anti-democratic violent mob dictate which literature can be exhibited publicly and which cannot,” says Vávra Suk, editor in chief of Nya Tider.
Nya Tider – translated as New Times in English – is a weekly newspaper that describes it self as exposing fake news in mainstream media. It regularly publishes information that the mainstream wants to hide from the public.
Last year, Nya Tider participated in the Book Fair in Gothenburg, the largest annual cultural event in Scandinavia, which sparked a heated debate. A few left-wing writers had claimed that Nya Tider was “racist” and they boycotted the Book Fair, but the “racist” label is one that Nya Tider has rejected.
This year, the Book Fair barred the newspaper from the event, citing concerns over “the enormous focus on one single exhibitor”. As a result of the ban, Nya Tider together with other media outlets, publishers and public figures who also felt less than welcome at the current Book Fair, decided to launch an Alternative Book fair. It was to be held on the same date as the other event, on September 29-30.
It has been nigh impossible to rent an exhibition hall from private owners, and the newspaper finally decided to launch the Alternative Book Fair in a large tent on premises rented from Gothenburg’s municipality.
Left-wing extremists has since threatened to storm the alternative event.
“This is an open provocation. We will not let them take our victory day from us”, wrote Gothenburg’s Antifascist Front on its Facebook page. They promised to “never accept Nazism in our city”. Within a day, the post inciting violence against the newspaper, had attracted some two thousand participants announcing that they would like to join in.
At a meeting with representatives of Gothenburg municipality and the police, the organisers were told that the security measures would affect a much larger area than the space occupied by the Alternative Book Fair.
Today, at the advice of the police, Gothenburg municipality has thus withdrawn their permission to continue hosting the Alternative Book Fair.
Yesterday, the editor of the Cultural Debate of the daily Svenska Dagbladet, Elsa Westerstad, questioned the value of the Gothenburg Book Fair “if more and more uncomfortable or unpleasant voices are barred”. She warned that the motto of the Alternative Book fair “for those who like to think for themselves and are not afraid of debate” was becoming ever more true.
As from today, the harsh facts can no longer be denied: Not only is oppositional literature and newspapers barred from the politically correct book fair, it is also totally impossible to arrange an alternative event.