50 People Arrested, Several Injured at Neo-Nazi Rally in Sweden

Swedish police officers block neo-Nazi demonstrators from deviating from a court-ordered route keeping them away from a synagogue in central Gothenburg on Sept. 30. (Tt News Agency/Reuters)
Swedish police officers block neo-Nazi demonstrators from deviating from a court-ordered route keeping them away from a synagogue in central Gothenburg on Sept. 30. (Tt News Agency/Reuters)

At least 50 people were detained Saturday during a far-right demonstration in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, that left one police officer and several others injured, according to police reports.

The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), a neo-Nazi group founded in Sweden but steadily growing in influence in Finland and Norway, had said on its websites that it expected 1,000 people to march Saturday.

Police placed the number closer to 600, making it the largest neo-Nazi rally in Sweden in recent years.

Black-clad demonstrators bearing shields and waving the group’s green-and-white flag marched in the city’s center. NMR is known for its openly anti-Semitic stance, and the group had originally sought to pass by a downtown synagogue to coincide with Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day.

Local activists protested, and a Swedish court intervened to shorten the march route so it would not pass near the synagogue. According to police reports, clashes broke out between police and NRM supporters when marchers attempted to deviate from the court-ordered route.

The rally sparked anxiety about the rise of the far right in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe, and a large counterdemonstration drew about 10,000 people from across the country.

“I am very concerned there will be more rallies like this in the future,” said Maxim Thore, an 18-year-old photography student who was among the counterprotesters. “The Nazis said at the protest that they will have a protest like this every Saturday from now on. I know people will always stand against them, but I don’t think 10,000 protesters can gather every Saturday.”

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SOURCE: Heba Habib 
The Washington Post