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Neo-Nazis parade through Swedish city ahead of Yom Kippur march

Nordic Resistance Movement holds rally in Gothenburg to spread word about demonstration planned to pass near synagogue

Nordic Resistance Movement sympathizers participating in an anti-immigrant demonstration in central Stockholm, November 12, 2016. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
Nordic Resistance Movement sympathizers participating in an anti-immigrant demonstration in central Stockholm, November 12, 2016. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens of people belonging to a violent Swedish neo-Nazi group paraded through the streets of the country’s second-largest city on Sunday, ahead of a planned march that has raised alarms for its route near a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

According to reports in Swedish media, some 50 members of the Nordic Resistance Movement marched through downtown Gothenburg waving flags and banners.

A minor scuffle between a counter protester and a marcher was broken up by police. Swedish authorities said no arrests were made.

The NRM used Sunday’s march to advertise for their upcoming rally, which is scheduled to pass near Gothenburg’s main synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

The group initially sought to hold its September 30 march adjacent to the Gothenburg Book Fair, when some 100,000 people are expected to gather in the city for the largest literary festival in Scandinavia.

Police denied the request, offering the group an alternative, less central route. That route would take the marchers some 200 meters from the Gothenburg Synagogue.

Members of the Jewish community, which is typically is under tight security, expressed concerns about harassment and physical threats from the marchers, last week appealed the police decision.

The Anti-Defamation League also expressed concerns over the NRM march, and urged Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to “ensure that the route of the neo-Nazi march is far from the synagogue.”

The NRM, founded in 1997, is described as the most violent Nazi organization in Sweden, by Swedish anti-racism magazine Expo. It has nearly 200 active members, according to Expo.

Earlier this year, three NRM members were charged over bomb attacks against refugee shelters that left one person seriously injured.

Sweden, which took in the highest number of refugees per capita in Europe in 2015, saw dozens of arson attacks against refugee centers that same year.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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