Pirates Demonstrate as Obama Visits Sweden
The Swedish Pirate Party and their youth organisation, Young Pirates, demonstrated in Stockholm on Wednesday 4 September 2013 when US president Barack Obama visited Sweden.
The last American president to visit Sweden was George W. Bush in 2001, a visit which resulted in massive fights in the streets. As a result, the Stockholm police was well prepared this time, shutting down traffic in large parts of the city and massively increasing police support.
Especially considering the US’s controversial foreign policies and the recent NSA scandal; many parties, organisations, and individuals wanted to take the moment to demonstrate during Obama’s visit. Two of them where the Swedish Pirate Party and their youth organisation the Young Pirates, seeking to demonstrate against the United States’ mass surveillance.
In the week prior to the demonstration, the Pirate Party’s leadership received criticism from both some party members and national media, because of their choice to demonstrate alongside several extreme left and communist parties. Others have criticized the fact that the other demonstrating groups also planned to demonstrate against matters which the Pirate Party has no agenda on, such as NATO cooperation.
“But this time the Pirate Party and their youth organisation Young Pirates have also picked sides”, writes one of Sweden’s largest opinion pages. “Against the US, but with Soviet, China and Cuba.”
The Pirate Party, which makes a point out of not participating in the traditional left-right political scale, has largely responded by disregarding the criticism, saying they have previously demonstrated alongside members of both the right and the left.
In spite of co-demonstrators, the Party has largely succeeded in appearing in the national media coverage of Obama’s visit. The days prior the visit saw several Pirate debate articles in major newspapers, as well as getting good coverage on both national TV and radio.
Featured image: by PPSE CC BY-SA