Stockholm rioting

Minority youth riot in a northern suburb of Sweden.  

 

Youths burn 100 cars in north Stockholm riots

Youths burn 100 cars in north Stockholm riots

Youths rioted in northern Stockholm on Sunday night, setting fire to cars and throwing rocks at police, in what is believed to be a protest against the fatal police shooting of a machete-wielding man in the suburb last week.

“At 10pm we sent out staff to an address in Husby,” explained Lars Byström of the Stockholm police to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

IN PICTURES: See the damage from the Husby fires

“My colleagues were met by young people who threw stones at them. It continued with a couple of violent riots and extensive damage.”

The riot kicked off when young people set fire to cars in Husby, a suburb in the far north of Stockholm. Witnesses claim at least 100 vehicles in the area were in flames. Another fire was lit in a nearby garage, resulting in the evacuation of the apartment block. Around 50 residents were taken care of and sheltered in buses that were on hand.

RELATED STORY: Riot police ‘resorted to racial slurs’ in Husby

The local shopping centre was also vandalized, and three police officers were injured in the fracas. Police estimate that the riots involved somewhere between 50 and 60 youths.

RELATED STORY: ‘Husby is usually a very peaceful place’

Forty emergency workers from both police and the firefighting service were on hand.

The protests come in response to a fatal police shooting of a 69-year-old man in Husby last Monday, according to the youth organization Megafonen. The man had been threatening police with a machete before he was shot.

Initially, police told the press that the man had died from his injuries at hospital, but it later emerged that the 69-year-old died at the scene.

Many neighbours questioned why police used such extreme violence to deal with the situation.

“This was an old man with a knife facing a whole gang of specially trained armed police officers. Did they really have to kill him?” a neighbour said to the Aftonbladet tabloid the day after the shooting.

A community-based organization that aims to organize residents of Stockholm’s northern suburbs to fight for social justice claimed Sunday night’s disturbances started as a “reaction to police brutality against citizens, our neighbours”.

“We understand that people react like this,” Rami Al-Khamisi from Megafonen said in a statement.

Calm was restored to Husby by 5.30am. Police did not, however, make any arrests.

“We’ve not made any arrests, but we’ll try to during the day. We’ll take a look at security footage and speak with witnesses so we can take legal action against the people who are guilty of crimes,” Byström told DN.

http://www.thelocal.se/48026/20130520/

Police officers on hand during the Husby riot in northern Stockholm stand accused of using racist language towards people on the ground, with one youth worker in the area claiming it is “not the last time” such scenes will occur.

The officers on the scene allegedly used words like “monkeys”, “rats”, and “niggers” to people in Husby on Sunday night, when at least one hundred cars were torched and three police officers were injured after stones were thrown at them.

IN PICTURES: See the damage from the Husby fires

A local youth leader, who along with a small group of teens was out on the street on Sunday, told local newspaper editor Rouzbeh Djalaie that he was called a nigger when he asked the police if they needed any help. The teens were called “monkeys”.

READ ALSO: Youths burn 100 cars in north Stockholm riots

“I can understand the police officers were stressed, but this language is unacceptable, and unfortunately nothing new,” Rami al-Khamisi, law student and founder of youth organization Megafonen, told The Local.

Megafonen is a community-based organization in the area that aims to organize residents of Stockholm’s northern suburbs to fight for social justice. Al-Khamisi, the founder of the organization, said the riots were a “reaction to police brutality against citizens, our neighbours”.

“Last week, the police shot an old man who was holding a knife. How can they do this without taking responsibility? I can understand the reaction,” he said.

Last Monday, police officers stormed the home of a 69-year-old Husby man who was brandishing a machete and shot him dead.

“You have to see what happened from a wider point of view. It’s not the first time something like this has happened, and it’s not the last. This is the kind of reaction when there isn’t equality between people, which is the case in Sweden,” he added.

Al-Khamisi said that the crowd was reacting to a “growing marginalization and segregation in Sweden over the past ten, 20 years” from both a class and a race perspective.

“Out in the suburbs the majority of people aren’t white, and from a political perspective we’re seen as a problem that politicians want to solve by sending more police. This is not a solution we agree with,” he said.

RELATED STORY: ‘Husby is usually a very peaceful place’

Stockholm police, meanwhile, would not disclose whether any arrests had been made in relation to the incident, which continued from around 10pm on Sunday night until 5.30am on Monday morning.

“I cannot make a statement at present because the police investigation is under way,” western Stockholm police spokesman Daniel Mattsson told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

He said that the police were tipped off about potential vandalism by concerned Husby residents who saw people with masks carrying cans containing some kind of liquid, and that just minutes later a car was burning.

Police have, however, filed 18 reports, ranging from violent rioting, causing damages, aggravated damages, attempted arson, and assault of an official.

Stockholm police officer Jörgen Karlsson said the accusations of racial slurs were “unfortunate”.

“It’s unfortunate if someone perceives they have been called that. But people can either make a police report or contact the local police,” he told the TT news agency.

Al-Khamisi, meanwhile, said that it’s unlikely that rioting in Sweden will stop any time soon.

“This kind of thing isn’t only happening in Husby, it’s happening all over Sweden. People are tired of politics not working in our favour, they’re tired of the current situation,” he told The Local.

“These people feel they have to take matters into their own hands.”

 

 

Policemen extinguish burning cars after youths rioted in Husby, northern Stockholm on May 20, 2013. Youths in the immigrant-heavy Stockholm suburb of Husby torched cars and threw rocks at police, in riots believed to be linked to the deadly police shooting of a local resident. AFP photo

 

Policemen extinguish burning cars after youths rioted in Husby, northern Stockholm on May 20, 2013. Youths in the immigrant-heavy Stockholm suburb of Husby torched cars and threw rocks at police, in riots believed to be linked to the deadly police shooting of a local resident. AFP photo

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–>Seven people were arrested as violence flared up for a second night in a deprived neighbourhood outside Stockholm and showed signs of spreading to other parts of the city, police said on Tuesday.
 
Four of those arrested in the suburb of Husby were detained, two were later released and a third person turned out to be under 15, the age of criminal responsibility in Sweden, according to local police chief Joergen Karlsson.
 
“Around 10 cars were set on fire,” he said.
 
Between 50 and 100 people took part in the rioting, and up to 300 people were estimated to have been on the streets, which was “probably more than on Sunday”, Karlsson said.
 
“We know that some of those who participated came from other parts of the country,” he said.
 
Unrest first broke out in the troubled neighbourhood late Sunday, when local youths torched cars and threw rocks at police into the early hours, in riots believed to be linked to the deadly police shooting last week of an elderly man.
 
Early Tuesday, stones were thrown at firefighters as they tried to extinguish blazes in garbage containers and recycling stations, and several properties had their windows smashed.
 
“Seven police officers suffered minor injuries in connection with the rock throwing,” Karlsson said.
 
“There was a smaller riot south of the city, but whether there is any connection to what happened here is hard to say,” he said.
 
At a Monday press conference, local activists claimed police had used excessive violence and called them “tramps, monkeys and negroes.” The product of Sweden’s controversial “million homes programme”, Husby’s tower blocks were built in the early seventies and are home to around 12,000 people, of which 80 percent come from immigrant backgrounds.
 
Authorities launched an ambitious effort to regenerate the low-income suburbs of northern Stockholm in 2007, but the area’s youth unemployment rate remains one of the highest in Sweden.

May/21/2013

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About grdflynn@yahoo.com

Journalist - Newsweek, Gothamist, City Limits, The Villager, etc. Tracking the rise of nationalist movements in Europe since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York. Twitter: https://twitter.com/gerdflynn?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
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