In May, Gotland municipality granted neo-Nazi group the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) space at the forthcoming edition of the annual Almedalen week, a decades-old Swedish political tradition where pundits, politicians and lobbyists gather in Visby.
But now, the municipality's technical committee has submitted a letter to the police saying that it is “wrong for organizers or organizations who clearly stand for anti-democratic and violence-promoting messages to be allowed to rent land from Gotland municipality”.
The committee added that it has caused significant concerns for security and safety in the city and for visitors in general.
The technical committee's chairperson Tommy Gardell said that allowing the NRM to rent space was a mistake which they regret. The application was approved without a check on what kind of organization the request came from.
“Had the issue been taken to the technical committee and to me as chairperson we would have said no and they could then have appealed,” he explained.
The committee cannot undo the decision according to Gardell, which is why they have now sent a request to the police asking for the NRM's police permit for the week to be reassessed.
In May all of Sweden's parliamentary parties signed a joint letter urging the hosts of Almedalen not to allow the NRM to rent space at the festival, but the request was granted anyway.
The parties had previously decided that the organization would not be allowed to take part in the official programme of events, but the allocation of physical space is the municipality's responsibility.
The Feminist Initiative (FI) party, which does not currently hold seats in the Riksdag, has announced that it will boycott this year's Almedalen if the decision to let the NRM rent space is not changed.
“Boycotting Almedalen shows FI is against the legitimising of racism and Nazism, while at the same time we want to show our solidarity with all of the people and organizations who, because of the perceived threat, are forced into silence or to not attend Almedalen at all,” party leader Victoria Kawesa said in a statement.
Sweden's Left Party meanwhile has appealed the police decision to give the NMR a permit to hold public meetings during the week.
According to anti-racism foundation Expo, the NRM was the key force behind a surge in neo-Nazi activity in Sweden last year, with propaganda-spreading being their most common form of activity.
“They're the most extreme end of this white supremacist area. There's a lot of crime associated with them, they have a relationship with violence,” Expo researcher Jonathan Leman told The Local.