HELSINKI – Neo-Nazi group banned

Neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement (PVL) was ordered to shut down to preserve the general good of society, the Finnish Supreme Court said on Tuesday (22 September).

The Court found – after a series of appeals in the lower court – that the group had repeatedly violated the law and acted against the accepted moral codes such as human rights and equality, though the movement has defended its existence and actions with the principles of freedom of speech. The last time a politically motivated movement was banned in Finland was back in the 1970s.

Over the years, the far-right group has published and spread hate speech against Jews and immigrants and its members have been guilty of acts of violence. In 2016, outside Helsinki Central Station its member attacked a man, who then died in hospital.

According to Finland’s interior ministry, the organisation is a militia-like and revolutionary movement with an aim to establish a national socialist state. And despite its fairly limited number of members – hundreds, not thousands – it has gained a lot of publicity.

That is why the Supreme Court’s verdict on Tuesday (22 September) resonates also with its Scandinavian neighbours and beyond.

The roots of The Nordic Resistance Movement are in Sweden from where it spread to neighbouring Finland, Norway and Denmark. Cooperation between national affiliates has been close.

During the last decade the discussion was lively in the Iron March net forum established in 2011 by a Russian individual. Next to PVL, its active participants included the UK’s National Action, the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, the Greek and Italian Neo-Nazi parties Golden Dawn and CasaPound and the US based Atomwaffen.

Iron March was banned and shut down in 2017, but in all probability the change of strategies continues elsewhere. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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