Today, Sweden Rallies Against ACTA And For Freedom Of Speech. We Can Win This.

Just look at this map. I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of people all across Europe demanding their freedom of speech and being angry against backroom corporativist deals that steals their most basic civil liberties.

Today, Sweden rallies for freedom of speech, a free net, and firmly against ACTA. Late yesterday, it was announced that Poland is suspending its ratification of ACTA indefinitely. The Slovenian ambassador signing the document (which has no legal effect whatsoever) has publicly apologized and called people to rally in Ljubljana, Slovenia for their rights.

This is not Hollywood versus Silicon Valley, as oldmedia likes to frame it. This is Hollywood versus The People. For decades, they have trained us to think in black and white, in good versus evil fighting for domination of the free world. And now, they’ve gone and put themselves in the role of evil villain.

The copyright cartel thought they were battling Google.

They’re not.

They’re waging war against the people, with the help of the politicians.

And we’re not standing for it. We can’t change the copyright cartel, but we can send a clear message to the politicians that 250 million Europeans sharing and preserving contemporary culture is not a problem. It is a power base of 250 million voters  that will kick you out of office  if you dare so much as touch the net.

And there are visible cracks in the façade, especially seeing Poland falter and the copyright cartels visibly shaken from the SOPA defeat in the US, with the politicians having started to pay attention to what the Internet wants. We can win this.

Today, Sweden rallies. List of rallies below (via Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament):

  • Stockholm: Sergels Torg, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Göteborg: Götaplatsen, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Malmö: Stortorget, at the Karl X Gustav statue, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Helsingborg: at the Magnus Stenbock statue, 13:00. [Facebook]
  • Umeå : Apberget, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Kalmar: Giraffens Köpcentrum, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Sundsvall: Torget, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Karlstad: Stora Torget, 12 noon. [Facebook]
  • Borlänge: Jussi Björlings torg, 12 noon. [Facebook]

(The observant will note that less than half of these rallies are marked on the already-impressive map of European rallies. Makes me wonder what the map would look like if all rallies were included.)

Most of Europe will rally next Saturday, on February 11. That’s going to be something, too. Let’s give Europe the best of precursor to those rallies from Sweden that they could possibly get!

As of early morning on February 4, 11,000 people have committed to coming to the Stockholm rally, with another 3,500 maybes. Those are numbers that would overfill the Plattan plaza by a wide margin. I’ll be at the rally in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be taking plenty of imagery and will follow up here.

The Outcome

UPDATE AT 1500: Seeing that this story is #3 on Reddit Front Page at the moment (server is holding… holding…), I want to follow up with the outcome right here:

Rally at the Sergels Torg plaza in Stockholm, Sweden. Anna Troberg, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, speaking (at left) and maybe 1/3 of the crowd.

The turnout was like nothing I’ve seen for a February rally in Sweden. In -20°C, there were well over a thousand people protesting corporate rights over their freedom of speech; normally, you’re lucky getting 50.

Also, there was a very clear recurring theme among the Members of European Parliament speaking, MEPs from three different parties. They all told the story of how software patents had been defeated in Europe, followed by the crucial “amendment 138” in the Telecoms Package, which aimed to shut people off en masse from the Net. Well, thanks to diligent activists and people on the inside, we managed to get as strong safeguards in place as possible against shutting people off. But the monopoly lobbyists never quit. Now they’re at it again, this time saying that if authorities can’t shut people off en masse due to that “amendment 138”, maybe they can get private corporations – the ISPs – to do it instead through third-party liability forcing certain terms of service and wiretapping. Hence, ACTA.

Fortunately, and this was a consistent message from all Members of European Parliament, we have the blueprint for defeating ACTA. We need to repeat what we did with the software patents and with the Telecoms Package. It takes hard work, it takes tons of activism, but we know exactly what to do and how to do it, and most importantly: we know that we can win.

As the rally concluded, everybody was determined to win this fight, having heard the clear message that it takes work but is perfectly doable.

UPDATE 2: There are more photos from Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament here. Free for any use (CC0 / Public Domain). Here’s one of his photos, showing the protester crowd:

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Gridlock

    I think i can surmise most peoples opinion in the really with this sentence: We DID NOT start this war, but we WILL finish it.

    I hope these rallies will send a clear message to the politicians that unless we are talking about real war where peoples lives are in danger, there is no excuse WHAT SO EVER to keep negotiations behind close doors.

    And Copyright Law no matter how much the MAFIAA thinks it may be a war and a question about national security ISN`T.

    But hey maybe ACTA is a good thing in the sense that it will finally open the peoples eyes on whats been going on behind their bags and they don´t like it.
    Hopefully this will steer politics towards a more if you can´t adapt to the times and technology you will go extinct and that goes for the entertainment industry too.

  2. Justus Römeth

    If anybody sees a protest (upcoming or past) missing on the map feel free to send me an email at [email protected] (no worries, this is my spam addres). I can let more people edit the map 8as I don’t have time this weekend, master thesis and all), so a few more persons dedicated to having a complete chronik of the events in the form of this map would be great!

  3. Rick Falkvinge

    Here’s a photo from the rally in Stockholm at the Sergels Torg plaza, showing maybe 1/3 of the crowd and Anna Troberg, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, speaking (on left). This was in -20°C.

  4. Anon

    Why was this arranged through facebook? It’s like fighting for the removal of guns by shooting people with guns… makes no sense, and my town only had 5000 invited (I wasn’t invited, i don’t use facebook for the same reason that I dislike ACTA), 500 signed, and only 60 came. typical Swedish demonstrations.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Being a politician, you don’t get to choose where people will listen to you. You need to be where people choose to be, and explain the issues to them there.

      I don’t want to be on Facebook and I’m looking forward to the day decentralized networks have replaced the corporate behemoth. But until that day, I need to be where people are, or that day will not come.

      1. ANNM

        Still, it’s a bit over-the-top to have the detailed information available _only_ through Facebook. It would be easy to set up a mirroring system that made sure that everything was published or re-published through official, independent channels.

        But I don’t want to complain too much, since the event itself appears to have been a big success. Judging from those photots, there were a lot more than 1000 people there.

  5. manen

    too bad i slept in >_<

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  7. […] som skriver om demonstrationerna: Expressen, Aftonbladet, DN, SvD, Nyheter24, SVT, Futuriteter, Rick Falkvinge, Share this:TwitterFacebookDiggMerStumbleUponRedditE-postSkriv utLike this:GillaBli först att […]

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  9. Ralf Grahn

    @Rick Falkvinge

    You referred to 250 million Europeans, but there are more than 500 million EU citizens (more than the US, BTW).

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Yes. I was referring to the portion of the European population that shares culture (in violation of the copyright monopoly).

  10. Captain Obvious

    I’m not sure how you people think rallies in Sweden will affect American lawmaking.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      We can’t change United States’ lawmaking in the the United States. But we’re not too worried about that.

      What we can change is United States’ lawmaking in Europe.

      It only takes one country to say “hell no” to this cadaver, and it would fall.

      1. next_ghost

        I’m a bit worried that it won’t fall that easily. Even if it gets thrown out of the window in European Parliament, copyright lobby might still try to push it through in each member state individually.

        1. piratgurra

          Well they will probably keep trying until their cash runs out. Or maybe they pay with credit and hope to lobby the people to bail them out with tax money… well you know… it has happened before…

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  12. Froe

    The reason why Sweden got so many people to show up is because of Notch! Look at him on twitter @notch

  13. Sol Eiji

    This is my first post on Reddit. I’ve joined because I wish to help fight ACTA and all other variants which rear their ugly head. So I figure the first place I’d post is here, to let others know they have the support at least one more person on their side.

    I am proud of all my Eurobros over there. Keep fighting the good fight sirs.

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  20. Estonian

    “UPDATE 2: There are more photos from Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament here. Free for any use (CC0 / Public Domain). Here’s one of his photos, showing the protester crowd:”

    Umm.. but looking on the site it says: “Photo reuse – Some rights reserved”
    And when I click there it says Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

    Shouldn’t there be this link for CC0?

    Or you can’t choose it on Google?

    Well yeah, on the topic too. Seems that the protest was a success. Our fellow Estonians are also starting to organize for the 11th February, though it’s not updated on the map yet. I can see that people want to protest in two cities, Tallinn and our second biggest city – Tartu.

    It seems that Tartu has more participants, so I couldn’t go there, as it’s too far from me. But if they’re going to make it in Tallinn, I will sure go.

    [And on the other topic, Facebook is driving me nuts! It’s almost impossible to browse through Facebook, without telling me to log in every now and then. But what if I don’t want to log in? What if I don’t have an account? I guess I should just make a random account :D]


    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Excellent question.

      First part: ChE has released it under CC0 because he wrote so in the blog post announcing the photos. I don’t know if you can mark them as such in Picasa.

      Second: I’d say it was a success. There was a large and well-made piece on the evening TV news, too, where youth criticized that very oldmedia for not talking about it. A little meta.

      Facebook sucks, but that’s where people hang out. If you have updates to the map, mail them to info [at]


      1. Estonian

        TV news? Cool! Wish You’d have recorded it, translated and put it on YouTube. But then again, I know You’re busy with other things. Do You happen to know how many TV channels it made in Sweden?


        And Tartu’s protest is mentioned on Accessnow’s page, but it isn’t on the map yet. Guess they’ll update it later. I really hope that there are active people in Tallinn also, who’ll plan the protest. It seems that there are only 8 people attending and that’s pretty miserable.

        But NPO (non-profit organization) Estonian Internet Community ( – they’re basically an alternative for Pirate Party, because sadly we don’t have one.) has said that we should wait before protesting.
        Because there’ll be a round table meeting [guess that’s the correct phrase] about ACTA on 6th February at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with all the invited parties: EIC, a lawyer who has faught actively against ACTA, an administator of largest Internet forum in Estonia and so on. EIC wants to see what’s the country’s and officials stance on ACTA before thinking of protesting.

        Well, a good thing is that we haven’t signed ACTA yet. But some of our officials have said in the media, that ACTA won’t change anything with our law, so there is no problem signing it. What they say that it will harmonize everyone else’s laws. But then a few days later there was an article where an official said that it actually does change our law. So this means that it has to be ratified by the Parliament. If it wouldn’t change our law, then only government agreement is needed.
        So yeah, there are a lot of contradictions and EIC is hoping to get answers and see the official stance of our country on ACTA on Monday.

        [Sorry for the some-what messy language, I’m trying to practise it as much as I can. If You don’t understand something, let me know :D]

        Cheers 🙂

        1. Rick Falkvinge

          The evening news clip is here:

          I don’t have a TV set, so I wouldn’t be able to record it myself.


  21. Bo Hansson Andersson

    The 1/3 in your picture was more like 1/2, and it was not -20 degrees, rather about -12 degress.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Admittedly, I did write the temperature including the wind chill factor, as that was most relevant to the situation. Different sources gave that as between -18°C and -20°C.

      As for whether this was 33%, 35% or 50% of the crowd, I can’t tell without counting.

  22. tHORM

    go sweden. its seem like we finish people are frozen here. i guess no one here cares when their basic libertys for freedom of speech are in danger.


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  26. arek

    USA FUCK EU, let us not be

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  30. sevencats

    Good luck from Poland !!!

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  37. Ola Andersson

    Hello Rick

    A couple of weeks ago I finally finished my movie about this protest. It is the entire demonstration, 29 min, all the speaches (in swedish of cource). Might not be interesting this long after, but still, it’s here:

    (I saw this blog post mentioned today in another blog).

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