A neo-Nazi march through the Swedish capital on Saturday attracted roughly 200 participants — far lower than the 3,000 expected on the permit application for the event.
Banned in Finland but with membership in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the Nordic Resistance Movement (Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen or NMR)’s march went on without incident, although last year, its march on the holy Jewish day of Yom Kippur in Gothenburg got violent, with participants clashing with police, and dozens being arrests.
As NMR members and supporters chanted and read the names of politicians they consider “traitors” hundreds of counter-protesters gathered nearby, including, reports The Local, the Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke, whose father is Gambian.
Saturday’s march came on the heels of a protest held in Germany by roughly 500 neo-Nazis last week to mark the suicide of Rudolf Hess, Adolph Hitler’s aide.
Virulently anti-immigrant, anti-homosexual, and anti-Semitic, the NMR is also for the first time since its founding in 1997 will present a list of 24 candidates to run in the Sept. 9 parliamentary election, although it is assumed they will not meet the 4 percent vote threshold needed to to securing any seats.
The party seen as likely to make it through is an offshoot of the neo-Nazi movement, the Sweden Democrats (SD), is expected to get around 20 percent of votes according to the Ipsos poll in the in Dagens Nyheter paper, putting it in the top three parties in Swedish government, behind the Social Democrats and the Moderates, which are a center-right party.
Amid a right-wing backlash against immigrants and refugees in Sweden, the SD has managed to gain strength, normalizing its image.
For instance, a Swedish TV breakfast show recently included SD leader Jimmie Akesson in a line up of politicians it was featuring, visiting his home town, with people sharing folksy reminiscence abut his childhood.
With polls indicating that immigration is a top priority for Swedish voters, the fate of thousands of migrants and refugees there hangs in the balance. The anti-refugee narrative is one that is taking over in the media, with a recent newscast on the the country’s national broadcaster giving the false impression that the majority of rapes in the country are carried out by foreign-born men.
The anti-refugee narrative is one that is taking over in the media, with a recent newscast on the the country’s national broadcaster giving the (false) impression that the majority of rapes in the country are carried out by foreign-born men.
Sweden received almost 26,000 applications for asylum in 2017 — far below the 160,000 at the peak of of migration in 2015.
Still, even the ruling Social Democrats, who are not as hardline as the Sweden Democrats, hold that around half of the 2017 applicants should be approved — no more than 15,000.
As of now, the courts will not even allow students whose asylum claims have been rejected to complete the schooling they’ve started in Sweden before being deported.