'Anti-Begging' Campaign in Sweden Sparks Outrage

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | August 5, 2015, Wednesday // 12:58
Bulgaria: 'Anti-Begging' Campaign in Sweden Sparks Outrage People using escalators transit past banners of the Swedish Democrats (SD) Party at Ostermalmstorg`s subway station in Stockholm, Sweden, August 03, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A poster campaign by anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats has divided the opinions in downtown Stockholm.

Posters hanging from the ceiling of the entrance of a subway station in Sweden's capital read: "Sorry about the mess here in Sweden. We have a serious problem with forced begging!"

According to the writing begging in Sweden is organized by "international gangs". The idea is to inform tourists about the "mess in Sweden", according to SD officials.

According to a study quoted by The Local, the number of people begging for money around Sweden has doubled to 4000 over the past year.

A vast part of beggars in Sweden come from Romania and Bulgaria (most of them being ethnic Roma people), and authorities in Stockholm are willing to work together with the government in Sofia to decrease the numbers of those who travel to the country to beg.

But Sweden Democrats, the third-largest party in Parliament, say visas should be introduced for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens traveling to the country.

Their campaign sparked outrage among some citizens who believe the message being spread through the ads is a racist one, and also that the public transport provider in Stockholm is profiting from them.

A rally held on Tuesday against "racism" was attended by about 1000 people, with part of protesters tearing down the posters at the subway station, AP reported.

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Tags: Sweden, Sweden Democrats, SD, beggars, Bulgaria, Romania
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