A neo-Nazi group demonstrated outside a synagogue in Oslo while celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur were taking place, representatives of the local Jewish community complained.
The incident occurred on Monday, but for some reason was not reported until Wednesday.
According to the newspaper Dagsavisen, people associated with the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) handed out leaflets with anti-Semitic content at the synagogue of the Mosaic Faith Society (DMT) at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo.
The head of the Mosaic Faith Society and deputy head of the Norwegian Centre against Racism, Ervin Kohn, described this experience as "very uncomfortable" and "extremely provoking". He stated that the police eventually stopped the demonstration and that the protesters were asked to leave the area. Afterwards, he went on to strongly condemn the demonstration.
"It is a shame for our society that Nazis spread their Nazi propaganda in broad daylight with impunity. As if they belonged to a legitimate organisation with a legitimate message", Kohn tweeted, calling for a nationwide ban similar to that recently implemented in Finland.
Det er en skam for vårt samfunn at nazister sprer sin nazipropaganda på lyse dagen med frimodighet. Som om de tilhørte en legitim organisasjon med et legitimt budskap. pic.twitter.com/rFUGJuOCtl— (((Ervin Kohn))) (@Ervin01) September 29, 2020
The demonstration was also condemned by the President of the Church of Norway, Olav Fykse Tveit. He suggested that holding a neo-Nazi meeting during a Jewish holiday was "disgusting".
"Everyone must condemn this", he said. "This applies not only to us as religious partners, but the whole of Norwegian society must be crystal clear on this", Tveit said.
The neo-Nazi display was also condemned by the Reds party, who advocated for a sweeping ban.
"The fact that someone walks around in 2020 and distributes anti-Semitic propaganda on the street, is absolutely terrible", Eivor Evenrud, group leader for the Reds in the Oslo City Council, said, urging the authorities to take action. "Legitimation and normalisation of Nazism is literally life-threatening", she added.
The NMR is a pan-Nordic neo-Nazi movement with roots in Sweden that seeks to create a united non-democratic Nordic State. Since its foundation in the late 1990s, it has spanned across Finland, Norway, Denmark, and even Iceland. Its members have reportedly served prison terms for robberies, assault, manslaughter, and paramilitary activity that includes the illegal possession of firearms.
The organisation was recently banned in Finland. The Finnish Interior Ministry branded the organisation a "revolutionary and militant movement whose goal is to create a National Socialist state". Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported that its allies include National Action in the UK, the Azov Battalion in Ukraine, the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, and the Italian neo-Nazi party Casa Pound.
Norway's Jewish diaspora numbers some 1,500 people, most of them based in Oslo. Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism. It is traditionally observed with a day-long fast and intense prayers.