Swedish police have come under criticism for letting Sweden’s Nordic Resistance Movement take part in the event on Gotland, according to Swedish media. The leading LGBTQ rights group in Sweden, RFSL, has reportedly attempted to appeal against the decision but was rejected.
The police have also been lambasted on Twitter, with some calling for them to take action:
So here's the thing. The entire Almedalen event is in Visby, a small city on an island. This week it's PACKED with politicians, NGOs and activists. And violent nazis.— Martin L. Fällman (@mlowdi) 5 июля 2018 г.
The quoted tweet below is 100% accurate. Now WHY won't the police do anything?https://t.co/RMbaxrQ0wX
Another Nazi assault in Almedalen, this time against a Jewish organization that the police somehow didn't realize would be a target 😡 https://t.co/gUtYaUQTZe— 🏳️🌈 🐝Pip 🐝🏳️🌈 (@liripip) 5 июля 2018 г.
Not only is NMR (violent Nazi group) allowed to participate in Almedalen, the biggest political event of the year in Sweden, BUT they also have permission from the police to demonstrate outside RFSL (LGBTI organisation)!!? 😡 #WTFSweden— Zirdalak (@zirdalak) 3 июля 2018 г.
The police’s approval is, however, in line with Swedish law, which stipulates that any public event and demonstration should be permitted by law enforcement.
The Nordic Resistance Movement seeks to create a Nordic republic made up Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The police commissioner in charge of security during the event told Swedish newspaper SvD that the police have a "good dialogue" with the party.
Criticism over the event as a whole is certainly in abundance: in one tweet, a lady is shown being pulled away by police for security reasons, as she sticks her middle finger in front of the marching right-wingers. Other Twitter users have tried to convey the message that the presence of the Nordic Resistance Movement isn’t about exercising free speech:
Letting Nazis demonstrate isn't free speech, it's the antithesis of free speech, because their purpose is to frighten others into silence. #Almedalen is a precious democratic tradition — don't let them ruin it. pic.twitter.com/N41bUXthuN— James Savage (@SavLocal) 6 июля 2018 г.
Yet, many have praised the major 2018 event:
Deeply enjoyed my stay at #Almedalen in Visby this year! Good discussions i.a. with @David_S_Cairns @david_cvach @fridawallnor @AreskougEU. Many interesting panels to listen to.#EUiAlmedalen @TyskSvenskaHK pic.twitter.com/NvDTLN6rnV— HansJürgen Heimsoeth (@GermanAmbSWE) 6 июля 2018 г.
Some have come up with visual proof of the massive support another right-wing Swedish political party, namely the Sweden Democrats, has recently enjoyed with the national working class:
Another user has pointed to the fact that the NRM has for some reason attracted too much attention, stealing the thunder from other issues:
"I think NMR gets a lot of attention in Almedalen. Everything else is drowned by it. Politicians in democratic parties, you have the power to do something about it…What I hear are words. What I want to hear is: use existing legislation or create new."
Jag tycker NMR får osunt mycket uppmärksamhet i Almedalen. Allt annat dränks i det. Politiker i demokratiska partier. Ni har makten att göra någonting åt det. Var inte så förbannat mesiga. Det jag hör är ord. Det jag vill höra är, använd lagstiftning. Befintlig eller skapa ny.— Robert Klåvus (@robertklavus) 6 июля 2018 г.
Another woman came up with a meme depicting her emotions after the comparatively conservative Sweden Democrats “start talking” at the event:
The Almedalen Week, which celebrates its 50th jubilee this year, takes place every year in early July and is considered the biggest political event in Sweden. It will round off at the end of the week, on July 8. NMR has doubled its numbers at Almedalen this year compared to 2017, when it caused controversy by attending the political festival for the first time.
Last year, the week hosted over 4,000 events and registered over 40,000 visitors. It is believed to be one of the most important platforms for parties to put their forward political agendas across Sweden, with this year’s event being crucially important in light of the upcoming Swedish parliamentary elections, due to take place in September. It is notably the first time that the Nordic Resistance Movement will be up for vote.