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Swede charged for psalm protest at neo-Nazi march

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Counter protesters block Nazi march in Norrköping. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT
09:10 CEST+02:00
A Swedish politician has been charged for disorderly conduct after he sang psalms to protest a neo-Nazi demonstration last month.

A neo-Nazi march through the small town of Jönköping on May 1st was temporarily halted by a group of counter-demonstrators, sitting in their way and singing psalms. Now one local politician who sang along faces charges for participating.

Elias Ytterbrink, local Green Party (Miljöpartiet) member, is charged with disorderly conduct (ohörsamhet mot ordningsmakten) for disobeying police orders to move and let the march continue.

"I stand for everything I have done and I don't think it should be seen as a crime," Elias Ytterbrink told SVT. "I believe that my religious freedom and right to sing and worship should be placed before the Nazi's right to demonstrate and spread hate."

RELATED ARTICLE: Nazis, you're not welcome: Small-town mayor 

The small neo-Nazi party of Swedes (Svenskarnas party - SVP) had been granted a permit to march on May Day, national protest day, much to the frustration of local politicians. The march was only briefly delayed by the singers, several of whom refused to move despite police requests. 

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Ytterbrink was one of 13 people taken into custody as a result of disobeying police orders.

"It's their democratic right to demonstrate, just as it is our democratic right to voice our objection to their demonstration," local Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) politician Anna Mårtensson told The Local at the time.
 
Police had earlier warned Swedes to stay away from the demonstrations, which were patrolled by over 350 officers to keep order. Still, police said it was illegal to disturb a licensed demonstration.
 
The Local/TT/sr

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