Police officers stand guard at a cordoned area after a
masked man attacked

A surge in gang violence has stirred anti-immigration sentiments before an election in Sweden, putting a far-right party on course for big gains in one of Europe's most liberal countries.

Dozens of people have been killed in the past two-years  in attacks in the capital Stockholm and other big cities by gangs that  are mostly from run-down suburbs dominated by immigrants.

In the latest bloodshed, three men were shot dead and three were wounded outside an  Internet cafe  in the city of  Malmo, on June 18. A fourth man was shot dead days later and another man survived because he was wearing a  bullet-proof vest.

With public-calls growing for tougher policies on crime and immigration, support has risen for for the Sweden democrats, a party with neo-Nazi roots that wants to freeze immigration and to hold a referendum on Sweden's membership of the European Union.

The worked mainstream rivals have started moving to the right on crime and immigration to try to counter the  Sweden Democrats  threat in the Sept 9 election. But so far they are playing into the hands of the far-right.

''Right now they {mainstream parties} are competing who can set the most restrictive policies,'' said Deputy  Prime Minister Isabella Lovin, whose  Green Party is part of a minority government  by the Social Democratic Party.

''It clearly benefits the Swedes Democrats.''

Opinion polls put the Sweden Democrats on about 20 percent support, up from the 13 percent of votes they secured in the 2014 election and the 5.7 percent which saw them enter parliament for the first time in 2014.

The Sweden Democrats rise on the back of  anti-immigration sentiment mirror gains for right-wing  populist and  anti-establishment  parties in other other European countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.

The honor and serving of the operational research on Sweden continues to Part 2.


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