A member of the Swedish neo-Nazi party, the Nordic Resistance Movement, has been arrested on suspicion of planning the murder of two journalists who work for one of Sweden’s largest media groups.
Police arrested the suspect over the weekend, the Local reported. During a search of the suspect’s computer, police found photos of the reporters’ homes and detailed information about the pair. Authorities also found a homemade shotgun, ammunition, silencers, and a circuit breaker.
The suspect denies that he was plotting to kill the journalists, and his hearing is scheduled for next week. In the wake of previous acts of violence committed by far-right extremists in Sweden, the country’s security service, Säpo, is assisting with investigations.
The Nordic Resistance Movement is a far-right group that has been active in Scandinavia since 1997, formed as an offshoot of previous neo-Nazi movements in the region. It is vehemently racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic. According to the Swedish police, the group is the most dominant neo-Nazi force in Sweden, and their influence has been on the rise: 2017 set a new record for the highest number of documented incidents of neo-Nazi activity in the country, with over 3,600 reported incidents. This coincides with growing support for Sweden’s far-right political party, the Sweden Democrats, who have made a point of campaigning on the issue of immigration.
European security services have become increasingly vocal about the danger posed by far-right extremists over the past year. In February, one of Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officers warned that the threat from right-wing extremists was “more significant and more challenging than perhaps the public gives it credit for,” and that far-right figures “have been given prominence and a platform to espouse dangerous disinformation and propaganda.” Last September, four members of the British Army were arrested for being part of the neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, whose members had openly applauded the 2016 murder of Jo Cox, a member of parliament.
In Germany, meanwhile, security services identified dozens of far-right extremists who were serving in the police and the army earlier this year. A July report by German intelligence said that membership of the “Reichsbuerger” group, which pledges allegiance to the Hitler-era German Reich, had surged and that there were now more than 16,000 members.
To make matters even more worrying, neo-Nazi extremists in Europe have repeatedly migrated over to far-right groups that still harbor racist views, but hold more mainstream political clout. An example was seen this Saturday, when a senior member of the far-right, pan-European Generation Identity group was revealed to have connections to neo-Nazi groups. In response, several prominent members resigned.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of people and they are extremely concerned,” Tom Dupré, Generation Identity’s British co-leader, told the Observer. “I’m appalled. I’ve resigned. My personal view is that others will leave [the group].”
In March, one of the leading figures of Generation Identity, Martin Sellner, was featured on Tucker Carlson along with his far-right girlfriend, Brittany Pettibone, after they were banned from entering the U.K. for espousing racist views.