Police gear up for Nazi demonstration on May Day

1:47 min

A neo-Nazi group has been granted permission to march through the central Swedish town of Borlänge on May Day, prompting fears of clashes with leftist and anti-racist groups.

The police have been aware of these demonstrations since January so they have had plenty of time to prepare and are cooperating with the municipality, Borlänge police spokesperson Stefan Dangardt told Radio Sweden.

Traffic will be re-directed in some parts of the town and a no-fly zone has been established over Borlänge on Sunday. 

“We can unfortunately look forward to some disturbances on Sunday, but I think we will handle it,” Dangardt said.

The Nordic Resistance Movement, an extremist right-wing party, has a history of violence. In 2013, members of the movement attacked an anti-racist demonstration in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp and there are fears of new scuffles in Borlänge this Sunday, as anti-racists are also planning counter-demonstrations. 

Dangardt stressed that the Nordic Resistance movement is a registered political party and as such have a legal right to demonstrate.

“There is a constitutional law in Sweden to freely express opinions and have meetings,” Dangardt said.

The Social Democrat Party, the Left Party, and the non-profit organisation Dalarna Against Racism have also been granted permissions to demonstrate in Borlänge.

There will be marches and gatherings across the town throughout the day and the police intend to keep the groups separated. They will march at different times and give their speeches in different locations.

Borlänge is an industrial town in the Dalarna region in central Sweden and has a population of 50,000. An iron mill and a paper mill dominate the cityscape and the town is a traditional stronghold for the labour movement.

Social Democrats have dominated the municipality of Borlänge for most of the past few decades, but in recent years the Dalarna region has seen a right-wing turn and several right-wing groups are active there. 

The Swedish Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist, a former municipal commissioner of Borlänge, is giving a speech at the Social Democrats' demonstration in the town on Sunday. He will be joined by fellow Social Democrat Mona Sahlin, who is the national co-ordinator against violent extremism.