Justice Minister Anders Anundsen has been asked to determine whether the patrols of an organization calling itself “Soldiers of Odin” are legal or defy laws against vigilante-type groups. Norwegian police have reacted differently to the emergence of the organization around the country, purportedly to guard citizens against any threats from newly arrived asylum seekers.
Kirsti Bergstø, a Member of Parliament for the Socialist Left party (SV), noted that Norway’s own police intelligence unit PST has warned against the rise of right-wing extremism. She told state broadcaster NRK on Friday that it’s puzzling why neither the police nor other Norwegian authorities have distanced themselves from the patrols, which she believes “clearly have a racist starting point.”
Terje Kaddeberg Skaar, a prosecutor in the Agder Police District, is also calling for a clarification of how the police should respond. In the northern county of Finnmark, police officials have said the patrols could have some “positive aspects,” while others have said they’ll be left alone as long as they don’t frighten people or cause violence.
Skaar believes any group “of several people who wander around the city center, over time, without any goal other than to maintain law and order, clearly violates the law pertaining to the police.” The Soldiers of Odin, he said, can’t be compared to Natteravnene, largely made up of parents who look after drunks on the streets on weekend nights, and help drunk youth get home.