Police admit they failed to act on tip-off about neo-Nazi march in Gothenburg

Police admit they failed to act on tip-off about neo-Nazi march in Gothenburg
NMR members marching through Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Swedish police have confirmed they received an anonymous tip-off warning that a neo-Nazi group was planning to march through Gothenburg two days before it took place, but failed to act on the information.

Newspaper ETC reported on Monday that the anonymous tip-off was not passed on to the police operations department after it was received through e-mail on Friday – two days before the much-criticized Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) demonstration took place in central Gothenburg without an official permit.

The head of the police contact centre in western Sweden Daniel Norlander confirmed that report, telling newspaper GT “we have failed in our routines”.

Gothenburg police chief Erik Nord insisted it was still correct not to intervene in the march, but did note that if more time for forward planning was allowed then a greater number of staff could have been called in.

“If we had known that it was going to happen there would have been considerably more personnel at the scene. Then we would probably have been able to direct how we would act a little bit,” he told GT.

READ ALSO: Police defend decision to let neo-Nazis march through Gothenburg

Police and a helicopter were dispatched to observe the march after witnesses called them upon seeing it in central Gothenburg on Sunday. It walked from the Liseberg amusement park, through Avenyn to Gustaf Adolf’s square carrying banners with Nazi symbols and shouting extremist messages, including slogans referring to Swedish police chiefs as “traitors of the people”.

Police chief Nord as well as some of his colleagues and experts have defended it being allowed to take place however, arguing Sweden's freedom of speech laws protect protests without permits.

On the NMR’s podcast the group's leader said Sunday's march was a test of the police capacity to intervene. They also mocked the police for not knowing about the demonstration in advance.

NMR has announced plans to stage a march near a synagogue in Gothenburg on the holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur later in September. Sweden’s main organization for Jews is appealing the police decision to allow the demonstration to take place.

The NMR, set up in 1997, promotes an openly racist and anti-Semite doctrine, and its growing popularity in Sweden has caused concern in neighbouring Norway.