Soldiers of Odin

Soldiers of Odin (SOO) is an anti-immigrant street patrol group founded in Kemi , Finland , in October 2015. [1] [2] The group was established as a response to thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Finland from the European migrant crisis . [3]

SOO has denied claims of being a racist or neo-Nazi group in interviews and on their public Facebook page. [3] However, the group’s founder, Mika Ranta, has connections to the far-right, neo-Nazi Nordic resistance movement [3] and a criminal conviction stemming from a racially motivated assault in 2005. [4] [5] According to the Finnish public broadcaster Yle , a private Facebook page for selected members of SOO shows that racism and Nazi sympathies are rampant among higher-ranking members. [3]The group’s nature has raised concerns of anti-immigrant vigilantism . [2]

In addition to Finland, affiliates of the group have a presence in Australia , Canada , Germany the United States and the United Kingdom .

History

The founder is Mika Ranta, who was born in Kemi in Northern Finland in October 2015 in response to an almost ten-fold increase in the number of migrants to Finland following the European Migrant Crisis in 2015. [2] , while a self-declared neo-Nazi and member of the Finnish Resistance Movement , who do not know the group as a whole. [6]

The group is named after Odin , which it claims is the Norse pagan god of death and war . This conveniently omitted other qualities assigned to Odin in Norse mythology, such as wisdom, healing, royalty, knowledge, sorcery, poetry, and the runic alphabet [7] [8] [9] [10] The reference to death and war in group’s name, according to Jurgen Hamsfield, is due to a perceived conflict. [11]

Soldiers of Odin gained momentum in 2016 after incidents such as the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Germany , the January 2016 stabbing death of Alexandra Mezher , and other migrant-related crime incidents. [2] [12]

On March 15, 2016, Soldiers of Odin announced on their Facebook page that they had intervened in the sexual harassment of two underage girls. The group also claims that the perpetrators were two refugees and that the police thanked Soldiers of Odin for their actions. Further investigation revealed that neither the police nor any bystanders had any knowledge of the event. On March 16, 2016, The Soldiers of Odin is one of their members fabricated the story. The group apologized for the announcement and said that the member would be expelled. [13]

The group’s number of Facebook likes in Finland alone was more than 49,000 in December 2017. [14] The group began to patrol in Norway in February 2016. which was profiled in the start-up phase by Ronny Alte  ( no ) , to form a leader of the Norwegian Defense League and Pegida activist. [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] The group began patrols in March 2016, marching in several cities and towns. [20] [21] [22]

According to Yle the Soldiers of Odin have connected to Finnish MV-lehti website and have been promised good visibility in it. [3] Ilja Janitskin’s MV-lehti website and its owner, Donetsk People’s Republic . [23]

Presence outside Finland

Soldiers of Odin claims a membership of 600 in Finland. [24] The group also has a presence in Sweden [24] and Norway; however, the Norwegian Prime Minister condemns the group. [25] The group has a presence in Estonia even though Estonia “has almost no asylum seekers or refugees.” [25] Additionally, United States, [26] Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick), [27] England, [24] and Germany. [24]

Australia

The membership of the Soldiers of Odin Australia was registered as a non-profit association with the Victorian Government in June 2016.

The group is running “safety patrols” of Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and Bourke Street Mall and other cities in Melbourne, Victoria to counteract what it claims is the inability of police to protect the public from rising street crime and gangs such as Apex . [28]

The Soldiers of Odin are unable to explain why they have overtly overt racism yet take their name from an overtly anti-immigration far right racist organization. They have been cashing in on recent anti-immigration rhetoric stirred up by the federal government. [29]

Canada

Soldiers of Odin established in Yukon , Canada, in 2016. [30]

Soldiers of Odin were seen patrolling the streets of Edmonton , Alberta , Canada, in July 2016. The group told the police that they were not “anti-immigration”, and the police confirmed the group had been involved in any criminal activity as of September 2016. The Edmonton police do say that “If they are the soldiers of Odin they are in Europe, we are going to be very concerned”. [31]

A Soldiers of Odin group at Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada, in September 2016, and claimed to be independent and not affiliated with racist and biker groups. [32]

A chapter also appeared in Winnipeg , Manitoba in the fall of 2016, though they also claimed to be unaffiliated with the European groups. [33] The national chapter is based out of nearby Gimli, Manitoba . [33] An educator at MacEwan University counters their claims of non-hate stating “If you are truly interested in community safety, community patrols” , there’s more than enough volunteer organizations that could have been joined. ” [33]

A chapter of the Soldiers of Odin formed in Sudbury, Ontario in the summer of 2016, around the same time as the leader of the Finnish Soldiers of Odin was sentenced for aggravated assault [34] . Members will begin to read the article on the topic of volunteering at the airport and posting photos of their efforts on social media in an attempt to recruit new members. In August, 2017 Soldiers of Odin were serving hamburgers at a dedication ceremony for organ donors when Chief Paul Pedersen of the Greater Sudbury Police Service posed for a photo with them. This article was translated from: http://www.wipo.int/index.php?p=blogs/index [35]As the story gained attention on social media the SOO appeared to gain significant sympathy from the larger population and members of the SOO and their supporters. Local news media The CBC and The Sudbury Star and Sudbury.com .

A chapter appeared in Sault Ste. Marie in September 2016. A spokesperson for the group said the 11 members would conduct a drug needle collection patrols in the city and provide security to a social worker whose work took them into risky areas after dark. [36]

On March 26, Soldiers of Odin members clashed with protesters and police at an anti-racism rally in New Westminster , British Columbia. Several were broken into handcuffs after fights broke out. [37]

Joel Angott, president of the Soldiers of Odin Canada, said that his group supports “sustainable immigration.” [38]

United States

In early 2016, a number of right wing activists in the United States “were already attempting to create their own soldiers in the United States, primarily using a propaganda tool.” [26] A number of disparate small groups joined together as Soldiers of Odin USA and “secured official sanction of the Finnish Soldiers of Odin the” official “American chapter.” [26] Soldiers of Odin USA, various members, ranging in size from 75 members. The group’s organization is reminiscent of a motorcycle club . [26] An examination performed by the Anti-Defamation Leagueof Soldiers of Odin USA’s private Facebook group found that they were predominantly white supremacists (including Skinheads , Neo-Nazis , neo-Confederates , and knights of the Ku Klux Klan ), self-described Norse pagans , and anti-government extremists and militia group members, including followers of the Three Percent movement. [26]

Reception

The Finnish National Police Commissioner, Seppo Kolehmainen  ( fi ) , caused confusion when he initially welcomed the establishment of street patrols. [39] In response, the Minister of the Interior, Petteri Orpo , said, “In Finland it is officials who oversee and take care of order in society. [40] Finnish Security Intelligence Service views the group as unsettling. [41]

Norwegian police were originally published in the United States, while others said that the group was unproblematic. [42] It caused some controversy when Progress Party MP and spokesperson for justice Jan Arild Ellingsenapplauded the establishment of the group, saying they should be “praised”. Government and party leaders quickly distanced themselves from their comments, stating public security to the responsibility of the police. [43] [44]

The Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas , criticized the group saying, “In the Republic of Estonia law and order is enforced by the Estonian police. Self-proclaimed gangs do not increase the Estonian people’s sense of security in any way; rather the opposite. ” [45]

Trademark

In spring 2016, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office accepted a request to register “Soldiers of Odin” as a trademark for clothes, footwear and headgear. The owner of the trademark, however, has no connection to the vigilant street patrol group, and is using his brand as a statement against racism and to bring the authorities’ decision to accept. [46]

See also

  • European migrant crisis in Finland

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:c “Soldiers of Odin registers as NGO, warns Loldiers against using spoof name” . YLE . February 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Jump up to:d Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell (13 January 2016). “Anti-immigrant” Soldiers of Odin “raise concern in Finland” . Reuters .
  3. ^ Jump up to:e “Soldiers of Odin’s secret Facebook group: Weapons, Nazi symbols and links to MV Lehti” . YLE. March 16, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ “Police Commissioner: Street patrols have” no special rights ” ” . YLE . January 5, 2016.
  5. Jump up^ “Kaikilla Joensuussa partioivan Soldiers of Odin -ryhmän pomoilla useita rikostuomioita” . MTV3 . January 5, 2016.
  6. Jump up^ “Finland’s’ Soldiers of Odin ‘face off against huggy ladies’ . Yahoo News . February 9, 2016.
  7. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin: The far-right groups in Finland ‘protecting women’ from asylum seekers” . The Independent . February 1, 2016 . Retrieved 9 December 2017 . The Soldiers of Odin, whose name refers to the Nordic god of war and death, also known as neo-Nazis and followers with criminal records, as well as more typical men.
  8. Jump up^ Goldberg, Michelle (19 July 2016). “Better Know an RNC White Supremacist: Soldiers of Odin” . Slate . Retrieved 9 December 2017 . Named after the Norse God of war and death, the Soldiers of Odin patrol city streets, on the lookout for dangerous Muslims.
  9. Jump up^ Lamoureux, Mack (17 April 2016). “Soldiers of Odin, Europe’s Notorious Anti-Immigration Group, Is Beginning to Form Cells in Canada” . Vice News . Retrieved 9 December 2017 . Now, the group named for the Norse god of death and war has come to Canada.
  10. Jump up^ Montpetit, Jonathan (14 December 2016). “Inside Quebec’s far right: Soldiers of Odin leadership shake-up signals back to extremist roots – Montreal” . CBC.ca . Retrieved 9 December 2017 . In the early evening darkness, four figures huddled in the parking lot of a Quebec City arena, all wearing black sweatshirts emblazoned with a drawing of Odin, a Norse god of war.
  11. Jump up^ al-Sahli, Nasser (21 January 2016). “Soldiers of Odin: Far-right summons Norse mythology against refugees” . Al-Araby Al-Jadeed . Retrieved 9 December 2017 . Hamsfield says these outfits are inciting violence against immigrants, in what he believes may be a precursor to a “clandestine civil war” he says extremist right-wingers are seeking. To him, choosing the name Odin, the old Norse god often associated with war, is no coincidence. In truth, many believe the current tension between some of the Nordic communities, and immigrants and refugees, can be traced back to Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
  12. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin: The far-right groups in Finland ‘protecting women’ from asylum seekers” . The Independent . 1 February 2016. The Soldiers of Odin, whose name refers to the Nordic god of war and death, also known as neo-Nazis and followers with criminal records, as well as more typical men.
  13. Jump up^ Soldiers of Odin Myöntää: Ahdistelutarina oli lööperiä – “Pyydämme kaikilta anteeksi”,Iltalehti16 March 2016. Accessed on 17 March 2016.
  14. Jump up^ Soldiers of OdinonFacebook
  15. Jump up^ ” ‘ Patriot’ group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway” . The Local . February 15, 2016.
  16. Jump up^ ” ‘ Soldiers of Odin’ anti-immigrant group spreads from Finland to Norway as one of its ‘patrols’ operates in the country for the first time . Daily Mail . February 15, 2016.
  17. Jump up^ “Her patroljerer” Soldiers of Odin “for første gang and Norge [Here, the” Soldiers of Odin “patrols in Norway for the first time] . Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). February 15, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “Nå har” Odins Soldat “establte seg i Norge.” – Vi er snart representert i hver krik og krok av landet ” . Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 23 January 2016.
  19. Jump up^ “Alte er kastet ut av Odins soldier [Alte kicked out of Soldiers of Odin]”(in Norwegian). NRK. February 26, 2016.
  20. Jump up^ “Anti-migrant group ‘Soldiers of Odin’ expands street patrols to Sweden”. Russia Today . March 24, 2016.
  21. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin patrolling central Gothenburg [Soldiers of Odin patrolled in central Gothenburg]” . Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). March 26, 2016.
  22. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin etablerar sig i Sverige – högkvarteret i Finland” . Yle (in Swedish). 18 April 2016.
  23. Jump up^ http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2016092822385546_uu.shtml
  24. ^ Jump up to:d Vigilantes begin patrols in Norway migrant influx , Associated Press (February 15, 2016).
  25. ^ Jump up to:b Janis Laizans & Joachim Dagenborg, Anti-immigrant ‘Soldiers of Odin from Finland to expand Nordics, Baltics , Reuters (March 2, 2016).
  26. ^ Jump up to:e Soldiers of Odin USA: The Extreme European Anti-Refugee Group Comes to America , Anti-Defamation League (2016).
  27. Jump up^ Ben Makuch,Soldiers of Odin: Inside the watchful extremist group claims to be That preserving Canadian values,VICE News(February 1, 2017).
  28. Jump up^ Vedelago, Chris; Houston, Cameron (2016-10-10). “Vigilante-style group Soldiers of Odin Melbourne CBD patrolling” . The Age . Retrieved 2017-08-22 .
  29. Jump up^ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/28/fear-and-loathing-on-the-streets-the-soldiers-of-odin-and-the-rise-of-anti -refugee-vigilant
  30. Jump up^ ” ‘ Refugee-hating’ vigilante group Soldiers of Odin pop up in Yukon” .
  31. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin, dubbed ‘extreme anti-refugee group,’ Edmonton streets patrol ‘ .
  32. Jump up^ Azpiri, Jon (20 September 2016). “Critics raise concerns about the BC chapter of Soldiers of Odin” . Global News .
  33. ^ Jump up to:c Francois Biber (September 14, 2016). “Soldiers of Odin Canada says the same thing as what’s going on overseas” . CBC News . Retrieved 2017-03-29 .
  34. Jump up^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-vigilantes-sentence-idUSKCN0Y92M4
  35. Jump up^ http://www.thesudburystar.com/2017/08/24/soldiers-of-odin-photo-a-mistake-sudbury-chief
  36. Jump up^ Klassen, Jeff (September 15, 2016). “Controversial ‘patrol’ group Soldiers of Odin now walks the alleys of the Sault” . sootoday.com . Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  37. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin Arrested at Rally in Vancouver” . CBC . CBC.
  38. Jump up^ “Controversial Soldiers of Odin group organizing in Hamilton” . CBC News . Retrieved 2017-09-20 .
  39. Jump up^ “Police Commissioner: Street patrols have” no special rights ” ” . YLE . January 5, 2016.
  40. Jump up^ “Orpo disappointed by police chief’s street patrol comments” . YLE . January 6, 2016.
  41. Jump up^ “Yle paljasti Soldiers of Odinin suljetun Facebook-ryhmän kuvia ja livestejä – Supo:” Aineisto puhuu puolestaan ” ” . March 16, 2016.
  42. Jump up^ “Politisjef om Odins soldier: – Uproblematisk at trygger byer og tettsteder” (in Norwegian). 18 February 2016.
  43. Jump up^ “Soldiers of Odin create political poison in Norway” . The Local . February 24, 2016.
  44. Jump up^ “Anti-immigrant ‘Soldiers of Odin’ expanding from Finland to Nordics, Baltics’ . Reuters. 2 March 2016.
  45. Jump up^ “Estonian PM Condemns Soldiers of Odin” . www.baltictimes.com . Retrieved 2016-03-16 .
  46. Jump up^ Hallamaa, Teemu (16 May 2016). “Soldiers of Odin rekisteröitiin tavaramerkiksi” (in Finnish). Yle Uutiset . Retrieved 17 May 2016 .

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