No Nazis in Our Gothenburg
Vikings, clowns, and Anti-Fascists came to stop the Neo-Nazis' organisation Nordic Resistance Movement from marching in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. From all walks of life and from all parts of Sweden and Scandinavia, they choose to resist.
Weeks before the media began to whip up sensationalist articles about the coming march. Thousands of violent left-wing protesters would descend upon the streets of Gothenburg they said. The dreaded Antifa, who “were equally as bad as the Nazis,” would be there too. The day before, the free Metro newspaper ran the headline “places to stay away from this Saturday.”
With other more refined commentators calling for the Nazis freedom of speech to be respected. Despite the establishment’s fearmongering and ill thought out Liberalism, around 15 thousand people turned out to protest the Nazi march. The biggest demonstration organised by Gothenberg’s Anti fascist front on the Heden recreational fields, turning for all intents and purposes the Nordic Resistance Movement's big day into a festival for anti-fascism with live music, dance and of course protest.
On the same day as the yearly book convention and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Nordic Resistance Movement had planned to march through the city centre of Gothenburg, the second largest city of Sweden and well-known Anti-fascist stronghold. A few weeks before the Nordic Resistance Movement had, in an unpermitted demonstration, marched down one of Gothenburg’s main drags, catching the police off guard and making a mockery of them. The police chief later stated that the Nazis were not marching in straight enough lines or wearing uniform enough uniforms to be arrested under the conditions the police had given the organisation. After this rather cocky move, the courts grounding their decision in the complaints lodged by the Jewish community and the organisers of the book convention forced the Nazis to change route and shorted the time for their demonstration.
On the Day
On the day tensions were high, many were worried that scenes from the Gothenburg EU Summit riot in 2001 would be recreated. The famous Gothenburg trams were redirected away from the cities theme park Liseberg and a no traffic zone was in place in the area of the Nazi's march. On the recreational fields of Heden, the atmosphere was lively as thousands gathered to show that they were not afraid. The group Folk Musicians Against Racism played at the far end of the field, giving the gathering a festival like feeling. Vikings against inappropriate use of Nordic ruins wondered around, as clowns capered.
At the Nordic Resistance Movement’s assembly point a car park outside of a supermarket on the outskirts of the city, the Anti-fascists prepared themselves. The Nazis equipped with riot shields, flags, and a less uniform like uniforms, assembled under police protection.
Around the time the Nazis were to march, the first reports came in of fighting between Nazis, Anti-Fascists, and the police. Loud explosions were heard, as so called “bangers” were thrown. The sounds of these explosions could be heard throughout the city.
At Heden, the fest-like atmosphere was brought to a shuddering halt as the bangs were heard, and reports came in that the Nazis were now trying to break through the police line and follow the route they wanted. In the crowed slogans began being shouted in defiance, cries of “Inga Nazister på våra gator”(NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS) and “Vad ska vi gör? Stoppa Nazismen.” (What are we going to do? Stop Nazism.) echoed on the field. As the police moved away from the area of the recreational field to stop the deviating Nazis, the crowd now incited by the boldness of the Nazis, went from "stop the Nazis" and pushed over the barriers, moving forward to block the designated route.
The End and the Aftermath
The police, without riot gear, were now facing off against shield baring Neo-Nazis. The better-equipped followers of the fourth Reich were slowly brought to a standstill though as their ill-advised deviation brought them face to face with a number of Anti-fascists. As police backup came with riot gear and reports of a thousand or more protesters blocking the planned route came in, it was more or less clear that the march had failed. In a desperate attempt to maintain face the Nordic Resistance Movement refused to leave the area until their members, who had been detained, were freed. A while later they accepted being escorted back to their cars, having only marched from one supermarket to another a few hundred meters away and their members still in police custody.
Clearly, the city of Gothenburg and the Anti-Fascists won. The Nazis were not able to march and apart from a few incidents, the majority of the demonstrations were peaceful. Ashamed and a laughing stock the Nordic Resistance Movement's leader has said that this will be the last time the movement applies for permission to demonstrate.
In the media, opinion is mixed with some citing the power of the people and others decrying the leftwing as being as bad as the Nazis for their actions. A view that rightwing politician Hanif Bali took, taking the chance to recycle pictures form the 2001 Gothenburg riots in his critic of the Anti-Fascist's actions during the demo.
The total cost of the demonstration is thought to be over 20 million Swedish Kronor, the biggest cost being police wages.