Sweden is the latest European country hitting the headlines for a rise in extremism and xenophobia. Sunday thousands of pro-Democracy Stockholmers plan to take to the streets after last weekend's violent neo-Nazi rally.
Many of the protesters are young, described as teenagers. Shocked by a neo-Nazi protest last Sunday they have been motivated to act. A call to gather this Sunday was put out on Facebook and within hours 5,000 people had committed to attend today's scheduled pro-Democracy rally.
Last weekend the demonstration by neo-Nazis quickly turned violent. There were shocking scenes as fireworks and bottles were slung into a crowd of anti-racism protesters. This week a plethora of scrawled swastikas sprouted up reports The Local.
According to Reuters "The protest followed events last weekend when around 30 neo-Nazis attacked another anti-racism rally in the same suburb, Karrtorp, throwing bottles and firecrackers at protesters. Two people were stabbed and 26 neo-Nazis were detained by police".
Sunday thousands of Swedes plan to rally against fascism in Stockholm. As the call to rally says on Facebook: "See you on Sunday at 12! Because Nazism and racism have no place in our society, because the streets and the squares belong to all of us, and because we will never be scared into silence,".
In late November The Monitoring Group reported: "Two people were injured as protesters clashed with members of the neo-Nazi Swedish resistance movement in Stockholm with the far right rally labelled as “absolutely disgusting” by Sweden’s EU Minister".
The skirmishes took place in central Stockholm on Saturday evening as an estimated 80 members of the Swedish resistance movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen) took to the streets to support Greek extreme right party Golden Dawn. The number of people involved in those rallies was relatively small.
80 neo-Nazis faced up to around 450 pro-democracy protesters. The incidence of protests in Sweden by fascists and their counter parts, pro-democracy groups, has increased but are not new.
Footage on youtube shows that pro-democracy groups and fascists have been squaring up to each for a number of years. "On January 27th the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was liberated and this day is now celebrated as the memorial day for the holocaust victims. On January 28th 2006, the two major Swedish Nazi groups, SMR and NSF, held a holocaust denial demonstration in central Stockholm. Some hundred antifascists also gathered in Stockholm to protest against the Nazi march, but the antifa-rally was immediately attacked by the police. The Nazis could because of this hold their demonstration without very much disturbance, but later in the evening around 15 of SMRs topboys were confronted outside a pub and sent to the hospital by antifascist activists. This movie shows how the antifascist rally is attacked by the police."
In some European countries austerity is fueling a rise in fascism. With echoes of the rise of extremism which led to World War II poverty, and in some cases greed, is resulting in hate. Earlier in December Times Europe reported: "Far-Right groups advocating indiscriminate violence are on the rise in Spain, exploiting anger at widespread joblessness and forging links with neo-Nazi groups across Europe, a senior police intelligence officer has told The Times".
This week a report into fascism in Sweden was published. It concluded that neo-Nazi groups were more active in 2012, but the number of groups operating within the white power movement has declined. 1,824 activities by neo-Nazis in 2012 showed a downward trend had ended. Activities are defined as "spreading of propaganda, demonstrations / marches, crimes and / or internal activities such as parties and lectures".
In Sweden's 2010 election the fascist Party of the Swedes became the first National Socialist party to secure a seat in a Swedish political assembly since the end of World War II.
In true fascist style that party is trying to silence the media. "The Local reported last month that the party had claimed responsibility for a coordinated action at various Swedish media offices, leaving a calling card warning of "anti-Swedish propaganda"."
Following last weekend's neo-Nazi attack on a pro-Democracy rally thousands of Swedish people took to the streets of Stockholm, Sunday, as a protest against racism. Smaller anti-racism rallies were held in support at several other Swedish cities.
Reuters reports, before last week's protest parts of Karrtorp were sprayed-painted with swastikas and Nazi slogans.
"The organizers of Sunday's demonstration estimated more than 16,000 people took part. The crowd chanted "End racism now" and "No racists on our streets", and prominent Swedish artists played on a stage set up on a soccer field".