Europe

Woman confronts 300-strong neo-Nazi rally in Sweden

Tess Asplund blocks the path of Swedish neo-Nazis in the town of Borlange at a Mayday rally. Source: David Lagerlof/TT News Agency/Australscope

A photo of a Swedish woman standing up to a neo-Nazi rally has gone viral in Scandinavia and around the world.

A photo of an anti-racism activist blocking the path of a 300-strong neo-Nazi march in central Sweden has gone viral online, shared by thousands of Scandinavians on social media. 

The Nordic Resistance Movement, an organisation known for its violence and opposition to non-white immigration, was holding a weekend rally in Borlange to mark International Workers' Day.

Stockholm resident Tess Asplund stood in the way of the march and raised a fist in defiance before police removed her, according to English-language Swedish publication The Local

"One of them stared at me and I stared back," Ms Asplund told local Swedish media.

"He said nothing and I said nothing, and then the police came and removed me."

Ms Asplund was participating in a counter-protest, reported to have significantly outnumbered the neo-Nazi group.

The worldwide media attention has left Ms Asplund "overwhelmed" and made her friends fear for her safety, according to the Telegraph

"Of course, a lot of the Nazis are angry. They're not happy about that picture," she said. 

The international attention comes as political tensions over issues of race and immigration continue to intensify in Sweden.

The Nordic country has been among the most generous in accepting migrants, with some 163,000 applying for asylum in 2015 - the highest per capita number in Europe. Of the 58,800 asylum cases actually processed last year, 55 per cent were approved, the BBC reported

Now Sweden is moving to tighten its borders, introducing identity checks on all incoming traffic from Denmark in a bid to reduce the number of migrant arrivals. The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats have grown in popularity to become a considerable political force, polling as the third most popular party in the country. 

The past few years have also seen arson attacks on mosques. 

 

Source SBS News

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