Sweden’s dominating neo-Nazi group ramps up activities

4:41 min

Last Saturday, November 12, the Nordic Resistance Movement gathered 600 far-right protesters at a rally in central Stockholm. Jonathan Leman, a researcher at the Expo Foundation, told Radio Sweden about the movement’s recent increase in activities.

“This is an organisation with the goal of ending Swedish democracy and the democratic governments in other Nordic countries, to overthrow them and to establish a National Socialist reign.”

A counter-protest against the far-right demonstrators gathered some 5000 participants last Saturday. Even though large parts of central Stockholm were cordoned off, the police at times struggled to keep the neo-Nazis and counter-protesters separated from each other. Several people were taken into custody.

A few decades ago neo-Nazi demonstrations gathered in even larger numbers, and Jonathan Leman said it is quite unusual these days for the Nordic Resistance Movement to bring together as many people as last Saturday’s 600. A rally in Borlänge on May 1 this year saw 300 protesters.

“In terms of activities that they have been doing on the streets, spraying propaganda, manifestations and training – all of these things that they do and which they report, we’ve seen that that number has doubled as well,” Leman said.

As hate speech is illegal in Sweden neo-Nazi groups often take care not to refer openly to Jews, for instance. Most recently they have instead been using the word ‘globalists.’ A term, it turns out, was also used by US president-elect Donald Trump during his campaign. 

“They’ve tried to sort of piggy-back on the Donald Trump campaign in the US. Before he won the election, but also after, they’ve tried to sort of walk in those footsteps and relate what they say to the ads and the words coming out of the Donald Trump campaign,” Leman said.