A Swedish reporter was surprised to find that women are supportive of the Soldiers of Odin group, saying they make the streets safer.
This past Sunday saw a brawl in Gothenburg that left one of the members of the “Soldiers of Odin” vigilante group hospitalized. Although he wasn’t there during the brawl, a reporter from Swedish paper Goteburgs-Posten decided to interview people on the street to get their impressions of the group a few hours earlier.
Reporter Joakim Lamotte described the vigilantes saying, ” they said that it had been quiet. However, it felt as if it was just a matter of time before someone would be provoked by them. They attract glances. There are many of them, tall guys with badges on their back, one of them had a fighting dog with them, some were masked. It’s what paved the way for the fight.”
The women Lamotte met had a very different opinion of the group than media, who have routinely condemned them for stoking up tensions with migrants. He said, “many people, especially girls, I talked to thought that what they do is good. Girls are terrified when they go out in the evenings. Soldiers of Odin may not be the right people to provide security, but some think it is good that someone is at least doing something.”
What angered the reporter more than the Soldiers of Odin was the fact that many women in Sweden no longer feel safe to walk the streets at night. “I get really angry when I think about it. These girls can not go out to the pub without being groped, they go with their key between their knuckles when they go out by themselves and have 112 programmed into their phone.
“When we read about daily rapes and girls are terrified to move out, then society has not taken responsibility. If it continues, we will see many more vigilantes,” he told the paper.
The Soldiers of Odin originated in Finland back in February as a response to safety concerns for women in the wake of the Cologne New Years sex attacks and the wave of migrant sexual assaults ever since.
The group has spread to other Scandinavian countries and has gained a rapid following with members in multiple cities carrying out regular patrols of streets in the evenings. The Finnish government accused the Soldiers of Odin of making the streets in Finland less safe saying, “there are extremist features to carrying out street patrols. It does not increase security.”
Finnish media have also reported on the group’s alleged ties to neo-Nazism saying that the 29 year-old founder Mika Ranta openly admits to being a neo-Nazi, but he has said that his personal beliefs and ideology have little to do with the patrols. Ranta was convicted of a racially aggravated attacks back in 2005 and is a member of the openly national socialist Finnish Resistance movement.