Swedish police stretched to limit as riots continue

Police in Stockholm called in reinforcements yesterday after youths set cars and a school ablaze in a fifth night of rioting, the worst to hit Sweden for years.

Swedish police stretched to limit as riots continue

Pupils at a primary school in Kista — an IT hub that is home to the likes of telecoms equipment maker Ericsson and the Swedish office of Microsoft — arrived to find the inside of the small red wooden building had been burnt out.

While Thursday was slightly calmer than the four nights before, about 30 cars were torched and eight people, mostly in their early 20s, were detained, police said.

In a country with a reputation for openness, tolerance and a model welfare state, the rioting has exposed a fault-line between a well-off majority and a minority — often young people with immigrant backgrounds — who are poorly educated, cannot find work and feel pushed to the edge of society.

“Now it’s Friday, the weekend, and we usually have more to do. We think there’s going to be a lot of work and many have worked hard these last few days, so we are calling in extra police,” spokesman Anders Jonsson said, without giving numbers.

The spree of destruction has seen masked youths vandalise schools, libraries and police stations, setting cars alight and hurling stones at police and firefighters.

It was sparked by the fatal police shooting earlier this month of a 69-year man, reported by local media to be a Portuguese immigrant and suspected of wielding a large knife, in a Stockholm suburb called Husby.

— Reuters

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