STOCKHOLM — Swedish riot police briefly clashed with thousands of people protesting against a neo-Nazi political party's election rally in Stockholm about two weeks before a parliamentary vote.
Canine units and mounted police also were used Saturday to keep the large crowd from approaching about 150 members of the far-right Party of the Swedes who marched along Stockholm's waterfront. Protesters hurled fireworks, bottles and security fences at police.
"We have had violent riots with people throwing objects at police," police spokesman Lars Bystrom said, adding three police officers were slightly injured by fireworks thrown at them. It wasn't clear whether any demonstrators had been injured.
He said at least two people were arrested — one suspected of "preparation for aggravated assault," but declined to elaborate. The other person was arrested for trespassing after climbing onto the roof of the downtown Opera House, outside which the neo-Nazis had permission to gather. Fifteen people also were apprehended for violating a ban wearing masks during political demonstrations.
Police had sealed off large parts of central Stockholm where more than 10,000 people protested against the small group that describes itself as a nationalist party.
The party advocates that only people with Western genetic and cultural heritage should be Swedish citizens. The group was formerly known as the National Socialist Front, but changed its name to the Party of the Swedes in 2009. The following year, it won its first and only city council seat in a small central town.
A week ago, three people were injured when mounted riot police charged demonstrators in the southern city of Malmo, in connection with another protest against the Party of the Swedes.