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Neo-Nazi activity is on the rise in Sweden

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Right-wing extremists showed up to an anti-racist rally in Kärrtorp in December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT
08:14 CET+01:00
Sweden's neo-Nazi organizations are declining in numbers, but their activity is growing in intensity, an annual report by Swedish anti-racist foundation Expo has suggested.

Last year the number of neo-Nazi propaganda actions reached record heights, according to Expo.

“It's an enormous increase. Just in a couple of years, in three years' time, it has almost doubled. We have never seen this many activities before,” Expo investigator Anna-Sofia Quensel told Swedish Radio's news programme Ekot on Tuesday.

2014 was an election year in Sweden, with voters going to the polling stations to cast their votes for the Swedish parliament as well as the European parliament and local authorities. On average the neo-Nazi movements spread propaganda or carried out rallies and other actions seven to eight times a day.

The number of neo-Nazi organizations in Sweden has gone down in the past few years, with the National Democrats one of the groups that completely folded in 2014. Expo names the Swedish Resistance Movement and the Party of the Swedes as the main groups today.

But in total, the number of activities has risen by 23 percent, from 2,334 in 2013 to 2,864 last year.

“The major part of activities is the spreading of propaganda, meaning sharing flyers, putting up stickers, often by night,” Quensel told Ekot.

She notes that the number of activities has risen in northern Sweden. Sweden's capital Stockholm tops the list for 2014, ahead of Jönköping in central-southern Sweden and Sundsvall further north. Göteborg and Malmö, the second and third biggest cities after Stockholm are only on 11th and 37th place on the list, respectively.

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Three police officers were injured in August last year as neo-Nazi protesters and anti-racist counter demonstrators faced off in the centre of Sweden's capital.

In December last year, an anti-racist rally was held in Stockholm, to mark the one-year anniversary of a neo-Nazi attack on a similar demonstration held in 2013 to protest Nazi graffiti daubed in the Kärrtorp area. Police arrested dozens in the ensuing chaos, and over 30 people have since been prosecuted, most of whom were part of the neo-Nazi groups.

Earlier this year, the interim leader of Sweden's nationalist Sweden Democrats party, Mattias Karlsson - who is to step down as Jimmie Åkesson returns in April after five months' sick leave - hit the headlines when he called Islam "perhaps a greater threat than Nazism".

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