Sweden Riots Spread beyond Stockholm

World | May 25, 2013, Saturday // 13:00|  views

The rioting in Sweden's capital Stockholm continued for the sixth night with cars set on fire in poor suburbs. Photo by BGNES

There rioting in Stockholm has spread outside Sweden's capital for the first time Friday, with youths torching vehicles and buildings in at least two towns.

The rioting in the capital continued for the sixth night where cars were set on fire in poor suburbs inhabited largely by immigrants, despite police reinforcements of specially trained officers from the cities of Gothenburg and Malmo being deployed.

Parents and community leaders also toured the streets to reason with trouble-makers, and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt held an emergency meeting.

According to the BBC, the unrest was not as serious as on previous nights. The fire brigade reported 70 fires, compared with 90 on Thursday.

The riots began last Sunday in Husby, an impoverished, predominantly immigrant area in northwest Stockholm.

It is believed they were sparked by the death of an elderly man nearly a week before, who was shot by police after he allegedly threatened to kill them with a machete.

In the central town of Orebro, about 25 masked youths set fire Friday to three cars and a school, while in Sodertalje, just outside the capital, an empty building was torched, police said. Suspected arson attacks were reported in Linkoping, south-east of Stockholm, as well.

Police in Orebro were pelted with stones and at least one officer was slightly hurt by broken glass, Swedish media reported.

The BBC correspondent says there is now a debate in Sweden about immigration.

In the affected areas themselves, some people say the riots are a response to discrimination and relatively high unemployment. Sweden, once a by-word for equality, has seen a widening gap between rich and poor, our correspondent says.

Others argue that the unrest is a simple matter of criminality, where parents failed to exert enough influence on their offspring.

29 people have been arrested so far and another 23 are being probed with 10 of them kept behind bars.

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Tags: Sweden, riots, Stockholm, rioting, capital, suburbs, immigrant, immigration, police


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