The last time such a large police force was mobilized in Gothenburg was ten years ago during the EU protests.
Many are worried about violence and police are planning on implementing a low tolerance level. “The resources are in relation to the threat,” Martin Fredman, Police task force commander, told TT.
Three different groups have been given permission to gather and march towards the mosque. Two of the groups, Gothenburg against racism and the Left party, support the construction of the mosque. The third group, organized by the National Democrats and a group called the Swedish Defense League, are against its construction.
The greatest risk of fighting is expected near Ramberget on Hisingen where the mosque will soon be inaugurated. Police believe 2,000 to 3,000 demonstrators will attend the pro and anti protests and the area is under close watch.
An older demonstrator told TT that she was scared of Islam. The demonstrator later joined a group of protestors gathering near a gas station a half kilometer away from the mosque at around 10 am Saturday morning.
There are many cordons and fences around the building that police have been erecting during the past few days.
“Full scale fences are set up and there will be a no man’s land erected between the various groups,” Fredman told TT. The demonstrators will be separated so that they can not throw items at each other. Fredman says the protestors will also be kept farther than throwing distance away from the mosque.
Special police personnel from Stockholm and Skåne will participate in the containment efforts. These police officers are specially trained police who have undergone training in how to confront challenges and confrontations with demonstrators.
The mosque is built by the Swedish Muslim Foundation.
In addtion to the protests, large parts of Gothenburg will also be clogged up with more than 60,000 runners in a race called Göteborgsvarvet, the Gothenburg round.
TT/The Local ([email protected]/08 656 6518)