Christmas Unrest in Stockholm Suburb

The Local (Sweden), Dec. 24, 2008

For the second night running unrest broke out in the Stockholm suburb of Tensta. A massive police presence managed to gain control of the situation in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

The Local reported on Tuesday that the fire service had come under attack from stone-throwing youths in the predominantly immigrant-occupied area of Tensta in north west Stockholm on Monday evening.

When police units arrived at the scene youngsters were found to have set fire to car tyres, rubbish bins and a skip.

Jannes Hedlund at Stockholm county police described Tuesday’s rioting as in principle a repeat of the events of the night before.

“Among other things they had set fire to a skip and thrown a Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle,” Hedlund said.

The police were prepared for the possibility of renewed unrest and had deployed eight specially trained units to the area. Hedlund said that he believed that similar preparations were in force for any potential trouble on Christmas Eve.

Several cars were also set alight in Vårberg in southern Stockholm, although local police were not connecting the incidents to the unrest in Tensta.


Dozens of youths have rioted in the southern Swedish city of Malmo for a second consecutive night, setting cars on fire and clashing with police.

“We’ve had a very difficult evening,” a police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency late on Thursday.

“There have been fires burning since this afternoon . . . extensive damage to public property, and . . . stone-throwing and bomb threats against police.”

She said the trouble was linked to the closure of an Islamic centre.

The owner of the building, in an immigrant neighbourhood, had decided not to renew the centre’s lease. The centre, which included a mosque, had to move out.

But some youths squatted in the premises, until they were evicted by police earlier this week.

Once police left the premises, the youths returned, setting fires in the area. They then clashed with police.

“The origin of the riots is the occupation of the building. But that’s not really the reason now, now other troublemakers have just joined in, taking advantage of the situation,” police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford told AFP.

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