The prime minister of Sweden now says his nation will "never go back" to allowing mass immigration from terrorist nations like Syria, Libya and Iran.
The U-turn comes after a Muslim terrorist, who came to the country as a refugee and sought asylum, killed four people in a truck attack. Rakhmat Akilov, a refugee from Uzbekistan, hijacked a truck and deliberately drove into pedestrians on central Stockholm's main shopping street on Friday.
Akilov had applied for asylum but his final appeal failed in December. He was given four weeks to leave the country and was being hunted by police and immigration officials for deportation.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven vowed to move the country from its liberal stance, insisting that the massive flow ofd refugees into Sweden during the 2015 migrant crisis would never happen again.
"Sweden will never go back to the [mass immigration] we had in autumn 2015 -- never," Löfven said on Sunday. "Everyone who has been denied a permit should return home. This makes me feel enormously frustrated. If you have been denied a visa you are supposed to leave the country."
He said refugees are bringing danger into Sweden. "Terrorists want us to be afraid, want us to change our behavior, want us to not live our lives normally, but that is what we're going to do. Terrorists can never defeat Sweden, never."
His comments came as thousands of Swedes gathered in Stockholm in a “love manifestation” rally to show support and solidarity. And Löfven said he wants Sweden to continue to open -- to a degree.
“I believe today’s [rally] was a clear message from Stockholm and Sweden that we intend to keep our open, warm and inclusive society," he said. “I am proud to have you as fellow countrymen. You can take this pride [in your actions] with you for the rest of your lives."
“Friends, this is our fundamental challenge, as social democrats and as Swedes, during this conference and this decade. We are here to respond to this uncertainty.”
But Löfven said Sweden must remain vigilant. “We must prevent, obstruct and defend against terrorism with all the resources at our disposal. We will chase these killers with all the strength of our democracy.”