The political aftershocks of Donald Trump’s White House win hit Sweden over the weekend, apparently spurring 600 members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement to rally Saturday in Stockholm.
NMR spokesperson Per Öberg told the rally that Donald Trump’s election was a sign that the world revolution was beginning, the TheLocal.se reported. The rally turned aggressive after NMR demonstrators confronted thousands of counter-protesters, according to the Expo. Two people were injured, five were arrested, and at least twenty demonstrators were removed from the march.
Since its inception in 1997, the NMR has openly espoused anti-semitic and anti-immigrant views.
Immigration has become a hot-button political issue in Sweden in recent years due after the country opened up to refugees and asylum seekers. Per capita, Sweden took in more refugees than any other European country in 2015. But the sheer number of asylum seekers looking to enter Sweden — over 160,000 in 2015 alone — quickly overwhelmed the small Nordic country. Cases of violence and hostility against refugees quickly proliferated. Germany, another refugee-friendly country, has also seen a rise in attacks on asylum seekers and refugee shelters in the past year.
In response to overstretched welfare services and growing public resentment of the refugees, Sweden enacted tougher immigration laws, tightened border controls, and placed stricter rules on refugees looking to enter the country this year. Consequently, Sweden’s Migration Agency is planning for 28,000 to 32,000 asylum seekers this year — significantly less than years past.
The United States itself witnessed a flurry of racially-charged and anti-immigrant incidents after Trump’s surprise win. Trump shot to prominence in the U.S. presidential race on a staunch anti-immigrant platform, and was buoyed by rampant anti-semitism of his campaign CEO, Breitbart editor Steve Bannon, and the online alt-right white nationalist movement.
Trump told his supporters to “stop it” in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday. “I am so saddened to hear that,” he said, referring to the spray-painted swastikas and verbal abuse that littered the days after his upset win. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
No word if Swedish neo-Nazis were chastened by Trump’s call to stand down.
Photo credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images