Artist Dan Park arrested at openingArtist Dan Park arrested at openingFor about 30 minutes, Gallery Rönnquist & Rönnquist remained open and celebrated the opening of artist Dan Park’s exhibition. Then, the police stepped in. In nightmarish, police state fashion, they apprehended Dan Park and seized several of his works. All because a prosecutor in Malmö suspects that the artist’s pictures are in violation of hate speech laws.
At twelve noon, gallery owner Henrik Rönnquist opened the doors. The works shown are a mix of old and new provocative ”street art”, now framed and hung on gallery walls for the first time. The artist, as well as the gallery owner, both expected the police to protect them from the violent leftists and the so-called ”anti-racists” that had promised to show up and do everything in their power to shut down the exhibition. Instead, police did everything to accommodate the troublemakers and arrested the artist.
According to police spokesman Nils Norling it was the prosecutor’s decision to arrest Dan Park, and thus it was not the result of a private complaint. Maybe the prosecutor was inspired by the article in Dispatch International, where Dan Park expressed concerns about being arrested at the opening.
About one hundred ”anti-racists” had gathered outside the gallery in Malmö’s Gamla Väster district, shouting and chanting. Momodou Jallow of Vänsterpartiet (The Left Party) led the troops, inciting the black clad youths in the crowd. Jallow has twice been successful in getting Dan Park convicted for hate speech, each time receiving hefty damages.
Another controversial artist, Lars Vilks, exhibited his work at Gallery Rönnquist & Rönnquist in 2013 and earlier this year. He is shocked to hear the news of his colleague’s plight.
– This is nothing short of state censorship. Those in power are and should be subject to scrutiny and criticism – but now they have shown that they will have none of it, Vilks says to Dispatch International.
– Art can be anything! Art must be unrestrained and subject to debate. This is a breakthrough for totalitarian power.
After Dan Park had been arrested, police chose to remove the barricades, which prompted the activists to rush the gallery. Gallery owner Henrik Rönnquist had no choice but to flee head over heels. He asked police to help him reach his taxi unscathed, but got a shrug in reply:
– You have to fend for yourself…
Henrik Rönnquist will be questioned by police sometime during this week, and in all likelihood he too will be charged with hate speech crimes.
Dispatch International has been unable to reach the prosecutor for comments.