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Sweden remembers ex-leader Olof Palme on 30th anniversary of his murder

Swedes are marking the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme. The crime remains unsolved, and police issued a fresh appeal to the public for clues that could shed new light on the killing.

Swedish dignitaries paid tribute to Olof Palme on Saturday, 30 years after the former leader was gunned down in central Stockholm.

Members of the Social Democratic party joined Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as he laid a wreath at Palme's grave. Lofven told reporters the stateman's death is "a wound that still has not healed, we are still grieving."

A special memorial program at a cultural center in Stockholm is planned for Sunday afternoon.

Flowers piled up throughout the morning in the street where Palme was shot as he left a cinema with his wife Lisbet on a Saturday night in 1986. He was hit by a bullet in the back, while his wife was grazed by a second bullet.

Olof Palme

Police are still hunting for Olof Palme's killer

Divisive figure

Palme was leader of the Social Democratic party from 1969 until his death. He also served two terms as prime minister, between 1969 and 1976, and from 1982 to 1986.

Palme is often considered to be one of Sweden's most charismatic leaders, but he was also a polarizing figure. He was known internationally as a vocal critic of the military junta in Chile, the apartheid system in South Africa, and of the US' role in the Vietnam War. He also served as mediator between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s.

Prime Minister Lofven said Palme would be remembered for his ability to instill confidence in the people of Sweden, "conveying that we can form our own fate." He also praised Lofven's reforms in areas ranging from the labor market to gender equality and childcare.

Unsolved crime

Palme's assassination sent shockwaves across Scandinavia, and despite a massive manhunt, the perpetrator has never been found. In 1989, petty criminal Christer Pettersson was convicted of the murder after Lisbet Palme identified him in a police lineup. He was later acquitted on appeal and died in 2004.

Numerous conspiracy theories have been put forward over the past 30 years - ranging from plots by secret services in several countries, Kurdish separatists and domestic extremists. Police say they still have no prime suspect and are using the anniversary of Palme's death to appeal for any new tips that could help solve the case.

Prosecutor Kerstin Skarp said earlier this week that the probe would continue.

"The case will not be considered solved until someone is convicted by a court," she said.

nm/ (AP, dpa)

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