Court blocks police move to temporarily ban neo-Nazi group

A court has turned down a request by the National Police Board to temporarily ban the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement as unregistered associations remain beyond the reach of the law.

A demonstration by the Nordic Resistance Movement in Tampere. Image: Terri Niemi /Yle

The far-right Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) won a reprieve from prohibition when the Turku Court of Appeal on Friday turned down a request that the organisation be temporarily banned.

The National Police Board had requested that the Neo-Nazi organisation be outlawed for the time being until a final, legally binding ruling on its existence has been issued.

The NRM was banned in November by the Pirkanmaa District Court, which declared that the group’s goals are incompatible with democratic values. The ruling came at the request of the National Police Board, which called the organisation "violent and openly racist". The NRM appealed the decision.

Subsequently, the police board called for a provisional ban as the organisation has continued to post materials on its website and participated in demonstrations on Independence Day.

The court of appeals said it turned down the request as a ban would have no effect on an unregistered organisation such as the NRM. The law allows courts to temporarily outlaw associations but only if they are registered.