Sweden’s first “Vietnam protester” has died at the age of 83

Peace activist Sköld Peter Matthis, called “Sweden’s first Vietnam protester”, has died at the age of 83, Swedish media Expressen writes. 

Sköld Peter Matthis was an ophthalmologist by profession and his commitment as a peace activist and anti-war was lifelong. In 1965, Sköld Peter Matthis stood with a sign on Hötorget in Stockholm: “Vietnam. “US peace is terror to the people.” 

Despite a demonstration permit, he was asked by a police patrol to leave the place, as it was “illegal to demonstrate against the United States”. Shield Peter Matthis refused, the police called for reinforcements and he was arrested for “disrupting the traffic”. 

In the subsequent trial, he was sentenced to a daily fine of a total of SEK 19,000, a huge sum at the time. 

He then became known as “Sweden’s first Vietnam protester”. 

“The good thing about the verdicts was that people, in general, opened their eyes to the war in Vietnam. My fine was paid with money raised and you can say that the event on Hötorget was the starting shot for the big Vietnam demonstrations in Sweden, Sköld Peter Matthis said when Expressen interviewed him in 2003 during a demonstration against the war, which gathered 35,000 participants in Stockholm. 

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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