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Woman in her 60s is killed in broad daylight stabbing during a Swedish political event on the island of Gotland by ‘man with links to neo-Nazi groups’
- Swedish police said Wednesday that a woman in her 60s was killed in stabbing
- The fatal attack occurred in the city of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland
- Visby hosting a political festival attended by thousands including key politicians
- Swedish press reported the suspect allegedly has ties to Nordic neo-Nazi groups
- Police have yet to comment on a motive or the suspect’s political beliefs
Swedish police said Wednesday that a woman in her 60s had been killed in a daylight stabbing on the island of Gotland, where the country’s top politicians are gathered for a week-long event.
The stabbing occurred just before 2pm (12pm British time) in the middle of the city of Visby, which is currently host to a gathering of the country’s political parties.
‘Unfortunately I can report that the woman has succumbed to her wounds,’ Fredrik Persson, chief of Gotland police, told a press conference.
Persson added a 33-year-old man had been arrested shortly after the stabbing but declined to comment on a potential motive.
Sweden’s Expressen newspaper reported the suspect allegedly has ties to Nordic neo-Nazi groups, but this has not yet been verified by police.
‘Currently there is an intense investigation under way. Part of that is to establish a motive and background of the arrested,’ the police chief said.
He added that there were a series of questions they were looking into ‘since it happened in a very public place, where there was a lot of people in central Visby in the middle of the day.’
The Almedalen political festival is held in Visby every year and typically draws crowds of thousands as politicians from all major parties hold speeches and mingle with voters and tourists.
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) later confirmed that the victim was Ing-Marie Wieselgren, a 64-year-old psychiatrist working as a project manager and coordinator with the organisation.
‘We have lost an appreciated and cherished co-worker, colleagues have lost a good friend and all of Sweden has lost one of its strongest voices for mental health,’ Carola Gunnarsson, president of SALAR, said in a written comment.
Police, emergency services and bystanders give medical aid to a woman who was fatally stabbed at the Almedalen political festival in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland
Police arrest a man suspected of stabbing a woman at the Almedalen political festival in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on July 6, 2022
The woman was stabbed in Visby’s central square just minutes before Centre party leader Annie Lööf was set to take the stage for a press conference.
Bystanders and emergency services attempted to stop the bleeding and administered CPR before the victim was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to a local hospital.
‘I can confirm that this has happened and that we found a wounded person and arrested a man,’ said police spokesperson Ola Österling.
‘We are currently trying to determine the identity of the injured woman but have no information to share at the moment.’
Swedish MP Hanif Bali took to social media to declare the stabbing was ‘nothing other than a terror attack’.
Police and rescue services erect an awning to prevent photographs as they transfer a woman who was the victim of a stabbing at the Almedalen political festival into an ambulance car, in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on July 6, 2022
The Almedalen political festival is held in Visby every year and typically draws crowds of thousands as politicians from all major parties hold speeches and mingle with voters and tourists (Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson speaks during a press conference in Visby, Sweden, Sunday, July 3, 2022)
The attacker tried to flee the scene but was reportedly obstructed by an elderly bystander who thought he had stolen someone’s bag.
Lars Reuterberg, 69, told the TT newswire the suspect ‘ended up on the end of a mighty shove’ which sent him tumbling into door, after which he was detained by police.
‘This is the world’s most unique political week, a people’s festival where you can meet politicians and celebrities and everyone says ”hi”, where there are journalists and everything,’ Reuterberg told TT.
‘And this nutter goes and wrecks it all.’