Clashes, arrests in Stockholm at neo-Nazi march & counter-rallies (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Counter-protesters throw snowballs at police who are keeping them away from a demonstration organised by The Nordic Resistance Movement (Nordiska motstandsrorelsens) in central Stockholm November 12, 2016 © Fredrik Sandberg
Dozens of people have been detained as demonstrators clashed with both one another and police in central Stockholm during a neo-Nazi march held at the same time as two massive counter protests.

Over 500 people joined the march organized by the Nordic Resistance Movement, a National Socialist organization that exists in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, according to Sverige Radio. The far-right demonstrators gathered in the central Kungstradgarden park around 11:00 am local time (10:00am GMT), then marched through the city center to Mynttorget Square, opposite the Swedish parliament building. 

The far right radicals marched through the streets chanting slogans “Nordic revolution without mercy,” “enough is enough!” and “stop the invasion, repatriate!” apparently referring to the massive refugee influx to Sweden.

At the same time, two large rival demonstrations were staged in the Swedish capital. At least 500 counter protesters gathered at the Gustav Adolf Square right near the neo-Nazis’ marching route. A much bigger demonstration, which, according to police, was attended by about 5,000 people, was staged at Sergel Square, north of the city center.

The counter-protesters were chanting slogans and holding banners that read “No Nazis in our streets” and “the whole [of] Stockholm hate racists.” Counter rallies were attended by left wing activists and members of the Swedish trade unions.

A “fairly large” police force had been deployed to the streets of the capital, a police spokesman, Lars Bystrom, told journalists. Swedish media also reported that additional police forces were sent to Stockholm from Malmo and some other cities to separate the demonstrations and ensure public order.

Police cordoned off large parts of the city center in a bid to separate the rival rallies. However, it came to clashes. Counter protesters were throwing firecrackers and sparklers at neo-Nazis in the area between the Kungstradgarden Park and the Gustav Adolf Square.

They also attacked police officers and tried to break through the cordon at the square, a police spokesperson, Kjell Lindgren, told Goteborgs Posten, adding that at least ten counter protesters were detained as a result of these incidents.

Counter demonstrators at the Gustav Adolf Square also urged their supporters to throw snowballs and firecrackers at the neo-Nazis. Clashes between the rival groups then occurred in the Old Town. Neo-Nazis were again pelted with sparklers and snowballs. On several occasions, counter demonstrations tried to break through the police cordons. Two people were reportedly injured in these scuffles, Dagens Nyheter media outlet reported.

As the far-right demonstrators reached the Mynttorget square they were surrounded by counter protesters and scuffles broke out. However, police managed quickly restore order. Neo-Nazis then also tried to break through the police cordons. Five people were arrested on charges of disturbing public order as a result of the clashes at the square, Kjell Lindgren told SVD news, adding that some 20 people were also detained.

The situation then eased and the far-right group was able to hold a rally at the Mynttorget square. The event was attended by the leaders of the Swedish wing of the Nordic Resistance Movement, Paer Oeberg, who said that “mass immigration is orchestrated by the globalists” and welcomed Donald Trump’s election victory. He also praised the rally as the largest one organized by the Nordic Resistance Movement.

Meanwhile, the massive counter rally at the Sergel square was peaceful and ended without incidents. All events finished between 1:00pm and 2:00pm local time (12:00pm and 1:00pm GMT). The situation in the city now remains calm, Swedish media report, citing police. 

However, according to some Twitter posts, neo-Nazis continue to “scream and chant” in Stockholm’s metro. Some Twitter users are also urging people to be careful and not to walk alone in the city in the evening.

In 2015, nearly 200,000 refugees and migrants entered Sweden – more per capita than any other nation in Europe.

READ MORE: Swedish police lose control amid refugee crisis as number of 'no-go zones' rises to 55