After six nights the Stockholm rioting expands to other parts of Sweden. The police shooting of an elderly man over a month ago may have sparked rioting in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Although the Stockholm authorities stated they were not sure what the real cause was and admitted it was pure speculation. They confirmed the police acted in self-defense when they shot and killed a 69-year-old man who was armed with a machete threatened their lives.
The riots started in Husby a neighborhood north of Stockholm, an area occupied mainly by immigrants and their descendants. Husby is known as a high crime rate area with many problems.
Stockholm is perceived as a generous and tolerant city, and offers provisions for education and social security, as wellas a welcoming attitude to immigrants, is shocked by the recent riots. The cause of the riots has raised a national debate about immigration, unemployment, and social inequality. Islamist ideology is dismissed as the cause for the riots.
The influx of immigrants from war torn countries, like Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, asylum seekers totaling more than 44,000, cause the unemployment and social inequality to spark concerns among the local people. A recent government study confirmed that young people in many of the deprived areas of Sweden’s bigger cities do not study or have work. Many of the immigrants are poorly educated and cannot obtain work. The primary concern is that the gap between the rich and poor is growing faster than other nations.
The local people said the motive for the riots by the youth is anger over joblessness, and some communities are struggling to cope with the influx of immigrants. Some locals blame the parents of the young who do not control their offspring, as the criminality spreads.
Masked youths continue their destructive behaviour of vandalizing schools, libraries, police stations, banks and setting cars on fire. The police and fire fighters who try to restore calm often get stones hurled at them. The locals claim it is not the same Sweden they all thought they knew.
There are continued liaisons between the community leaders, including the mosques, to try and resolve this tense situation by the rioters. Some say the police did not act aggressively and there are locals who dispute this and say the police used necessary force. The residents, who condemn the violence, are frustrated by the continued aggression, and this has led to some of the community members taking to the streets to try and bring calm to this situation.
The police are so busy escorting fire fighters and trying to restore peace to this tense situation, it is reported that they have only arrested one person in Husby who is being charged on suspicion of arson. The rioters continue to spread violence to southern parts of the country and carry on setting fire to vehicles and other structures causing a constant nightmare for the authorities.
The Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt issued a statement and appealed to the public to remain calm and he stated they could not allow violence to govern the country.
Written by Laura Oneale