The Woman Who Defied 300 Neo-Nazis – Named One of Year’s Most Inspiring by BBC

A photo that has gone viral this week shows a single figure standing up against nationalists at a rally in Sweden. Kelly Grovier looks at how the image sums up resistance.

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The BBC caught up with Asplund in her hometown of Stockholm, where the group was making another march. She talked about the impact of that photo, and how she was surprised the moment had been captured and went viral the way it did. One downside to the experience, she said, was that the image had raised her profile with neo-Nazis, and “now they hate me more.” But that doesn’t deter her one bit.

“I have been fighting against these people for 27 years,” she said. “If you stay at home, they have won.” Watch the full video below.

The 42-year-old activist showed up at a gathering of Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) members in Börlange, Sweden. As a horde of 300 of the neo-Nazis marched down the street, Asplund — despite her diminutive five-foot, three-inch, 110-pound frame — defiantly stood in the middle of the thoroughfare and faced them down. “I was angry,” she told the BBC in an interview profile of her, “so I stood and did a ‘Nelson Mandela fist.’” Asplund was named one of the 100 most inspiring women of the year by the BBC.

The 42-year-old activist showed up at a gathering of Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) members in Börlange, Sweden. As a horde of 300 of the neo-Nazis marched down the street, Asplund — despite her diminutive five-foot, three-inch, 110-pound frame — defiantly stood in the middle of the thoroughfare and faced them down. “I was angry,” she told the BBC in an interview profile of her, “so I stood and did a ‘Nelson Mandela fist.’” Asplund was named one of the 100 most inspiring women of the year by the BBC.

It was an extraordinary show of defiance. One woman standing alone, her fist raised… 300 uniformed neo-Nazis marching towards her. The photo of Tess Asplund became an icon of the fight against the far right in Europe. As part of the BBC’s 100 Women season, we travelled to her hometown of Stockholm, as she once again took to the streets to make a stand.
Video journalist: Joe Inwood

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