Don’t give neo-Nazis space at annual politics week, Swedish parties urge

Don't give neo-Nazis space at annual politics week, Swedish parties urge
The neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement marching in Falun during May Day. Photo: Ulf Palm/TT
Sweden's parliamentary parties have urged the hosts of the annual Almedalen politics week not to allow a neo-Nazi organization space for a stall at the festival, after the group applied to take part for the first time.

Every year pundits, politicians and lobbyists gather in Visby on the island of Gotland for Almedalen Week, a decades-old staple of the Swedish political calendar. In April it was revealed that neo-Nazi group the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) had applied to attend for the first time after forming a party.

Now, the eight parties represented at Sweden's Riksdag have released a joint declaration asking hosts Gotland municipality not to allocate land for the organization during the week.

“As the main organizers we urge Gotland municipality (Region Gotland) not to grant land to NRM or other anti-democratic and violence promoting organizations during Almedalen Week,” the parties wrote in a joint statement.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Almedalen Week

The parties decide who is allowed to take part in the official programme of events during the week, while the municipality decides who is allowed to rent space.

“It's their decision. If they can't guarantee it this year, we hope they can do so for next year,” Almedalen Week 2017 chairman and Social Democrat party member Leif Dahlby told Swedish news agency TT.

READ ALSO: Neo-Nazis to attend iconic Swedish political festival

All of Sweden's parliamentary parties agreed on the statement at a meeting on Thursday, he explained. At the meeting, the organizers formally decided that NRM would not be allowed to participate in the official programme, and added a new rule to the criteria for events stating that participating organizations must not clearly stand for anti-democratic sentiments or promote violence.

“Anti-democratic messages will not be a part,” the Almedalen Week's project manager Mia Stuhre said, adding that it is now up to a technical committee to make a decision on the question of renting land.

The NRM caused anger earlier in May when they marched through central Swedish town Falun on the traditional May Day workers' holiday. Sweden's defence minister Peter Hultqvist blasted their presence, saying the group represents “crimes against humanity”.