Europe

Sweden: Clashes at neo-Nazi rally in Gothenburg

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Media captionThe NRM rally pressed past police lines, resulting in clashes

A rally of neo-Nazis in Sweden has ended in clashes with both anti-fascist counter-demonstrators and police.

The Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) group had planned a march through the city of Gothenburg on Saturday.

Scuffles broke out between police and the shield-carrying NMR group when, police said, members attempted to deviate from the agreed route.

Dozens of people have been arrested, including the group's leader, Swedish media reported.

Counter-demonstrators are also believed to be among those detained.

Several hundred neo-Nazis gathered in Gothenburg for the rally, along with a large group of counter-protesters who lined the route.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many counter-protesters had settled along the planned route before the rally began

Some Swedish media outlets reported that the scuffles broke out after stones were thrown by counter-protestors, prompting the attempt by NMR members to break police lines.

Officials said the permit for the demonstration expired at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT). Police used vehicles and mounted units to contain rally participants for some time, before demonstrators returned the way they came under heavy police escort.

By early evening, police said there had been dozens of arrests, including 22 for violent rioting, four for assault and four for violent resistance.

The NMR, which is not banned, describes itself on its website as a "national socialist" organisation, referring to the doctrine created by Adolf Hitler's Nazi party.

Its goals include stopping mass migration, fighting a perceived "global Zionist elite" and creating a unified Nordic nation with other neighbouring countries.

Reuters news agency said police had anticipated violence and brought in reinforcements from across Sweden for the weekend's rally, as well as adding 350 temporary jail spaces.

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