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Soldiers of Odin’s growth in Sweden has exploded, says the group’s spokesman Mikael Johansson in an interview with the news outlet Fria Tider. And according to him, they have received overwhelmingly positive reports from the public. He also says that people who are previously convicted of a crime can participate – to get a “chance to do the right thing.”

– It’s only positive comments. Immigrants are also sympathetic to what we do, he says.

Soldiers of Odin has in little over a month become a nationwide phenomenon in Sweden. The first patrol took to the streets of Stockholm on March 12, since then the vigilante group has spread to some twenty Swedish cities.

Gothenburg, Malmö, Borlänge, Trelleborg, Borås, Uppsala and Jönköping are some of them. But there are more cities and more are on the way, says Johansson to Fria Tider.

– Not all have come out yet because people are waiting for clothes and stuff. From the time a group starts up (in a city) to it begins to appear on the streets, it usually takes a month, he explains.

Mikael Johansson is 37 years old and lives in a suburb south of Stockholm. He has a background from the now defunct National Democrats, but just as “support member,” he says.

It was Mikael Johansson who took the initiative to Soldiers of Odin’s first patrol in Sweden, last month.

– The support group was already there when I joined, since, I was the initiator so it became active, he explains.

He also says that he most of all wished that the police had more resources so they could curb violence and crime in society.

– I’m sick of all the shit that happens everywhere. Why it has increased with a lot of violent crimes, and girls who have been molested, I leave unsaid, but it is enough now.

– I wish the police had all the resources they need, but there are cut-downs.

Soldiers of Odin was started in Finland in October last year, partly as a reaction against the increasing insecurity in society because of assaults and attacks on Finnish women by asylum seekers and other men with immigrant backgrounds.

The founder, named Mika Ranta, has by Finnish state media been accused of “links to” Nazism. Among other things, through Nazi content on Facebook Pages and contacts with the Finnish Nazi resistance movement.

Ranta was additionally convicted of, along with some friends, assaulting two men with immigrant backgrounds at a restaurant in Kemi in 2005.

Leftist liberal media have adopted a hostile attitude towards the vigilante group. When some members were ambushed and assaulted in Gothenburg, by far-left extremists, several mainstream newspapers blamed the group itself, even though they were victims, according to the police.

“Soldiers of Odin caused a brawl in Gothenburg” claimed Dagens Nyheter. Other newspapers followed a similar media slant in their articles.

Some of the criticism is justified, however. Several of those in the Soldiers of Odin, who say they wants to curb crime in the community, are themselves convicted of crimes, and some of them have been in prison.

– We, the Soldiers of Odin, do not think we have a lifetime punishment in Sweden because some have made mistakes earlier in life, says Johansson and adds:

– One can actually get a chance to do the right thing, and this is surely a good opportunity for convicted criminals to give back to the community.

Mikael Johansson himself is convicted three times for driving without a license after he got it revoked after speeding.

– Of course it was not so smart, he says, but adds that it happened over ten years ago, when he was younger.

However, men who are convicted of rape or domestic violence are not welcome as a Soldier of Odin, clarifies Mikael Johansson.

– Such I do not want to join at all, I’d like to say. We’ve Supporter members that we do not review the way as our full members, and it may happen that one or two who are convicted of various things slip in.

– Our growth has exploded, so we do not really have an eye on everybody.

When Fria Tider asks where the line goes and how serious crimes the Soldiers of Odin can tolerate, Mikael Johansson answers:

– Have you made a mistake in life, say, an assault or a robbery, depending on how long ago, if you are convicted of it and have served time for the crime, I do not think it will affect whether you want to do the right thing in life.

So robbers and assault criminals are okay, but not if you are convicted of domestic violence or rape?

– My personal opinion is that a woman is not to be touched in any violent manner whatsoever. And as a group such as Soldiers of Odin we do not want people convicted of rape, it should be safe for everyone.

– Unfortunately, there are people who feel uncomfortable when we patrol, but it is because the media have described us the wrong way, he adds.

Reminiscent of Motorcycle Clubs

Soldiers of Odin’s approach is reminiscent to some extent of what motorcycle clubs often use. A distinction between full members and “supporters” and at least in Finland they also use steps as “prospects” for those


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