Gothenburg braces for clashes between far-right and far-left
There are fears of violent confrontations in Gothenburg this weekend as several anti-fascist groups are mobilising for counter-protests during Saturday's Nordic Resistance Movement rally.
The neo-Nazi group aims to get at least 1,000 people to join their demonstration. That would make it their biggest rally to date and the group is arranging transportation for supporters from across Sweden, as well as from Finland and Norway.
At the same time, several counter-demonstrations are being planned, including by radical leftist groups that are also arranging bus rides to Gothenburg from across Sweden and neighbouring countries.
Both the extreme right and the extreme left have a history of violence and there are fears of clashes in Gothenburg.
On Facebook, some 23,000 people have said they are attending or are interested in attending a counter-demo organised by Gothenburg's Anti-Fascist Front.
The group Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) plans to photograph participants in Saturday's demos. Its website warns: "You who are planning to demonstrate with the Nazis should consider what consequences that might bring." The website also states that "all resistance is good resistance".
AFA is part of the autonomous Left, which, according to the Swedish Security Service Säpo, "targets the basic functions of the democratic state".
Another network, the Autonomous Revolutionary Nordic Alliance (ARNA), has put out a call for anti-fascists from across the Nordic countries to help "fight the Nazi march in Gothenburg". They are also urging members not to talk to or cooperate with the police..
The ARNA network was formed ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, an event that was marred by violent riots. ARNA organised bus convoys to Germany and on its website describes the actions in Hamburg as a successful "trial of new tactics and theory".
Researchgruppen (The Research Group), a network that describes itself as a collective of investigative journalists, will also be in Gothenburg on Saturday to document the events and to photograph participants who carry shields and flags or who wear pins. These items are all used by the Nordic Resistance Movement.
Members of Researchgruppen also attended the Hamburg protests in July and its co-founder has a history of anarchist activism.
In an email to Radio Sweden, a member of the group, Peter Andersson, said there is a risk of confrontations and violence from "both sides" on Saturday, and that the neo-Nazis might not stick to the demonstration route that they have been assigned. If so, there might be confrontations both with the police and with counter-demonstrators, Andersson predicted.
Radio Sweden was refused entry to a counter-demonstration planning meeting in Uppsala on Tuesday evening. Radio Sweden has also reached out to several anti-fascist groups that are organising, taking part in, or supporting counter-demonstrations this Saturday. None have responded.