Survey: Sweden divided over Olympic ceremony boycott

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 12:53 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Sweden appears to be split over the issue of a possible boycott of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

While 46 per cent of Swedes surveyed said they opposed a boycott of the opening ceremony, 41 per cent backed such a stance with the remaining 13 per cent undecided, the Novus Opinion poll commissioned by broadcaster TV4 said. Around 1,000 people were surveyed.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Tuesday he opposed a boycott of the opening ceremony on August 8.

Reinfeldt said that already when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Beijing the games, China was a one-party state without free elections and where human rights were violated.

At the end of this week, Reinfeldt was due to visit China and then Japan for talks on energy, climate change and trade.

Opposition leader Mona Sahlin of the Social Democrats cited recent events in Tibet as a reason for why she favoured a boycott of the opening ceremony.

"If the Olympic Games were held today with the violations that occur in Tibet now, I would absolutely demand a political boycott of the opening ceremony," Sahlin said.

In a related development, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, attending a summit of Nordic prime ministers in northern Sweden, said he had "not made a decision but in principle opposed mixing sports and politics."

Vanhanen said he planned to make his decision this summer.