HELSINKI, Finland – More than 100 members of the banned neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, known in Finland as the PVL, marched through Helsinki on Saturday, rallying outside of the Ministry of Interior, despite a court ruling outlawing their activities. At the very start of the protest, police arrested nine demonstrators suspected of planning to incite violence at the rally with equipment they had in their possession, such as boxing gloves.
The Turku appeals court ruled last month to ban the PVL from the country, upholding the local district court’s ruling last year. As the appeal period has not yet expired, the group still has permission and can obtain permits to gather and mobilize.
The Nordic Resistance Movement was established in 1997 by Klas Lund, a Swede who had previously been jailed for manslaughter and bank robbery, and other former members of the White Aryan Resistance. In addition to Finland, it has branches in Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark.
In 2017, the group organized a march through the streets of Sweden on Yom Kippur to terrify Jews on their most holy day. Three years ago, members attacked innocent refugees with bombs and incendiary devices, critically wounding one.
The World Jewish Congress is circulating a worldwide petition to put a press on the Swedish government to utilize all available legal measures to ban NRM (as it is known in English) and similar neo-Nazi organizations in Sweden which implement militaristic activities with the ideological goal of persecuting or inciting against others.
In recent years, NRM has repeatedly incited against minority groups, clad in dark clothing to underscore its militaristic intentions, including attacking refugees with bombs and incendiary devices and assaulting participants at Sweden’s annual political festival, the Almedalen Week.
Last year, NRM also organized a militant march Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, routed past the main synagogue in Gothenburg, to terrify Jews and others. In addition, NRM sympathizers repeatedly terrorized the small Jewish community in Umea, ultimately forcing the closure of its center in 2017. NRM also routinely publishes videos in which it portrays itself as the ideological heirs of Hitler and the Nazi Party, glorifying the Nazi message, and vociferously denying the Holocaust.
The World Jewish Congress’ campaign is currently running in Swedish and in English, to gain traction among Swedish-speakers both local and abroad. You can join by adding your name to the petition here.
Get more information here.