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Swedish police given extra funds to tackle extremism ahead of 2018 election

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Swedish police given extra funds to tackle extremism ahead of 2018 election
File photo of a police van outside the Swedish parliament building. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT
07:29 CET+01:00
Sweden's police and security service will intensify their efforts to crack down on violent extremist groups before the country holds its general election next year.

The Swedish government on Wednesday decided on details for an operation by the police authority and security police (Säpo) aimed at tackling politically motivated crime. Justice Minister Morgan Johansson has previously called for such efforts to be strengthened in the run-up the 2018 election.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio Ekot, Johansson said that during the election campaign, "as political intensity increases, there is also the risk that more violent individuals could try to use different opportunities to attack politicians or to go to large public gatherings".

READ ALSO: How Sweden's getting ready for the election-year information war

Extremist right-wing groups have become more visible in public over the past year, with neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) in attendance at this year's Almedalen week, the country's biggest political festival, for the first time. Johansson noted that some members of the group, which held a demonstration in Gothenburg in September, own weapons and have previously committed crimes.

And the government expects left-wing extremists to become more visible in the run-up to the election too.

The risks posed by these groups include the spread of propaganda and disinformation as well as violence and harassment.

As part of the new operation, police will intensify their surveillance of extremist groups and work on a clear plan for security during the election campaign, thanks to more money and resources provided by the government.

READ ALSO: 'Worrying' lack of support against violent extremism in Sweden: researcher

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