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Clown faces fine for protesting neo-Nazi march

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Clown faces fine for protesting neo-Nazi march
Clown activists protested the Nordic Resistance Movement's march. Photo: Ulf Palm/TT
14:55 CEST+02:00
A clown who led a protest against neo-Nazis marching in Sweden faces a fine or up to six months in prison for failing to get a permit.
“An organisation called Clowns against Racism in Dalarna marched to a part of Ludvika where they didn't have the correct permission to go,” Christina Hallin, a press spokesman for the police's Bergslagen region, told The Local. “The organiser of the group has been reported for contravening the law on public order.” 
 
Police said that between 300 and 500 supporters of the extreme-right Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) converged on the town of Ludvika on Tuesday for a day of uniformed marches and speeches, part of a show of power that also saw protests in Boden and Gothenburg. 
 
Mathias Edbäck, one of the clown demonstrators, said on Wednesday that the police had still to get in touch to inform them who, if anyone was to be charged. 
 
"We haven't been told who is facing the charges, and we don't really have a leader who is responsible for our events," he said. 
 
He said he suspected that the clown demo, which has in the past been too small to need to apply for a permit, had been a victim of its own success. 
 
"This year we beat last year's record, which we are really happy about, but we were a little too many I think." 
 
According to Hallin two more counter demonstrators were removed from the town by police to prevent violence breaking out. 
 
In Boden, police arrested one neo-Nazi on suspicion of committing a hate crime, and also seized a counter-demonstrator who tried to disrupt the neo-Nazi procession. Police also removed three counter demonstrators from the area to avoid conflicts. 
 
Boden police commissioner Patrik Ström said that Bo Nilsson, the Nordic Resistance Movement's candidate for the city council was reported for hate crimes after a speech he made at the event.
 
In Gothenburg, one neo-Nazi marcher was taken to hospital after getting into a brawl with counter-demonstrators. 
 
"It was the Nordic Resistance Movement members who were looking for a confrontation, but they met some resistance," police spokesman Christer Fuxborg told the Expressen newspaper
 
Hallin said police in Ludvika had received reinforcements from other parts of Sweden and had managed to keep the march under control.  
 
“So far, it's calm and it's going the way that we have planned,” she said. “There are people around that town with opposing opinions, but so far no other crimes or disturbances have taken place.” 
 
The march in Dalarna has been opposed by anti-fascist groups such as Vi är Dalarna, and Dalarna mot Racism, and has also drawn politicians such as Swedish culture minister Alice Bah Kuhnke.
 
“It hurts me so much that we have Nazis out on our streets,” Bah Kuhnke told Swedish broadcaster SVT. ”We need to use all the tools we have available to fight racism. It's not enough just to ban it.”
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