Several hundreds of members of a neo-Nazi group marched through a Swedish town Monday as part of a May Day demonstration, angering locals and government leaders.
Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) marched through Falun as one of several groups marking the workers’ holiday, Swedish media reported. They were met by counter-demonstrators along the route, while police safeguarded the event.
Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist attacked the group, and according to thelocal.se website, said the NRM represented “crimes against humanity.”
“This is an important day for our society and resistance against the Nazis,” Hultqvist said. “One can question whether it is fair that May Day has to take place with a police presence in order for people to feel safe.”
Local social-democrat Karl-Erik Pettersson said: “It is horrendous and a threat to our democracy that a party that does not stand for the equal rights of all people is given an opportunity to be seen on this day meant for the labor movement. But our parade will be bigger than ever.”
The NRM, set up in 1997, promotes an openly racist and anti-Semitic doctrine. Swedish security service SAPO has described the NRM as a white supremacist group with a strict hierarchy and military influences. Several of its members have been convicted of violent crimes including manslaughter, assault and attempted murder.
Agencies contributed to this report.