Decision to Allow Nazi Organisation to Participate at the Almedalen Week Appealed

Civil Rights Defenders appeals the police’s decision to allow the Nazi organisation Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) to participate at the Almedalen political week at Gotland, Sweden. We demand that existing legislation is used in order to protect democratic interests, and prevent the distribution of Nazi hate propaganda.

The police’s decision to grant NRM’s application to hold an organised gathering in Almedalen should according to Civil Rights Defenders be rejected due to the risks of violence, hate, and threat. The NRM should also be prohibited to participate at the Almedalen Week due to conflicts and a history of violent confrontations in relation to the organisation’s previous organised gatherings.

Civil Rights Defenders also argues that NRM should be prevented from distributing material, and disseminating information, about its ideas programme – which constitutes hate speech.

“Civil Rights Defenders demands that the police uses existing legislation in order to protect the fundamental democratic interests that weigh heavier than the Nazis’ right to freedoms of expression, assembly, and demonstration. As a start, we want the Nordic Resistance Movement to be denied permission to participate at the Almedalen week,” said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

The NRM is a Nazi organisation with a clear antidemocratic and violence-driven ideology that is based on the idea of racial superiority and a racial hatred which – in modern times – has led to persecution and the Holocaust.

In accordance with the police’s current decision, the NRM will be present among people who base their work on basic values such as openness, democracy and tolerance; values that constitute the opposite of the NRM’s own. There is an obvious risk that the NRM will once again seek confrontation and violent conflict. The NRM’s tendency to take on a violent approach poses a great danger to the other participants at the Almedalen Week.

The police can – in accordance with Swedish law (ordningslagen) – decide to not allow an organised gathering based on reasons to uphold order and safety. The police also has the right to prohibit such gathering if severe disorder has occurred on previous occasions, or if it has caused significant danger to those present. According to international law, Sweden is also obliged to conduct effective work against hate crime and the spread of racist and violence-promoting propaganda.

“Freedom of assembly and freedom of demonstration belong to the most fundamental rights we have. But the exercise of these freedoms entails responsibilities and obligations and can therefore be restricted, particularly if they conflict with other rights,” said Robert Hårdh.

Read the appeal in full here.