Demonstrators clash with the police during a protest against an election meeting organised by right-wing political group The Party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas Parti), at the Kungstradgarden square in central Stockholm August 30, 2014.(Reuters / Fredrik Persson)
Seven people suffered injuries after riot police clashed with anti-fascists at a neo-Nazi rally in Stockholm. Police say four law enforcement officers needed treatment, along with three civilians.
The march was organized by the Party of Swedes, a far-right organization, and attracted around 150 members. They were far outnumbered by those protesting against the gathering, with thousands gathering in the city center. The vast majority of protesters were well-behaved, but a minority attacked the police with firecrackers, bottles, eggs and panels from a security fence.
“We have had violent riots with people throwing objects at police,” police spokesman Lars Bystrom said, according to AP. He also mentioned that two arrests were made, one for “preparation of aggravated assault,” and another for climbing onto the roof of the Royal Opera House, where the neo-Nazi group started and ended their march.
The rally took place with Swedish parliamentary elections set to take place in two weeks. Just last week, on August 23, violence broke out at another march held by the Party of Swedes in Malmo, which has a high immigrant population with 31 percent of the city’s residents having been born abroad, according to the city’s official website.
The trouble started after anti-fascists tried to block the neo-Nazi march and clashed with the police ahead of a speech by Stefan Jacobsson, the leader of the Party of Swedes. Ten people were injured during the clashes, with many of the demonstrators critical of the heavy-handed tactics used by the police, which included a charge by officers mounted on horseback at the participants.
“I am shocked at the police’s excessive force,” Matilda Renkvist, one of the organizer of the demonstration, said.
This is not the first time Malmö has witnessed disturbing scenes of violence during protests. In March 2013, a standoff between anti-racist demonstrators and anti-Muslim group the Swedish Defense League (SDL) was similarly dispersed by police using horses, dogs and helicopters.
The Party of Swedes is campaigning on an anti-immigration ticket. Their program says they want to stop immigration and keep Swedish citizenship for people with “Western genetic and cultural heritage,” AP reports.
Formerly known as the National Socialist Front, they managed to win one local council seat in a small town in central Sweden in 2010. However, the Party of Swedes do not enjoy widespread support and with elections in a fortnight, they are not expected to gain nearly enough support to enter the national parliament…