4th Day of Riots in Swedish Capital
Hundreds of youths have been rioting for the fourth day in a row in Stockholm, Sweden, protesting against police brutality and inequality.
The riots appear to have been instigated by the police shooting of a 69-year-old man in the Stockholm suburb of Husby this month, in which Police said was an act of self-defense, but it has triggered accusations of police brutality.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt blamed the violence on “hooliganism” and appealed for calm.
According to local media reports, a police station in another suburb was set on fire, but no one was injured in the incident. Two schools, a restaurant and a cultural center have been damaged from the attacks.
Youth unemployment and the growing disparities between rich and poor in the country are also blamed for the riots, where mostly immigrant communities have been affected by budget cuts in state benefits over the past two decades.
Official unemployment among the foreign-born is at 16 percent, compared with 6 percent for native Swedes, according to OECD data.
Sweden government has been trying to reduce the role of the state since the 1990s, setting off the fastest growth in inequality of any advanced OECD economy.
Rouzbeh Djalaie, editor of the local Norra Sidan newspaper, told the news agency Reuters:
“The reason is very simple. Unemployment, the housing situation, disrespect from police. Local youths are often the subject of unnecessary identity checks from police, who call them “apes” during any riots.”
Another local paper Aftonbladet reported that the riots represented a “gigantic failure” of government policies, which had underpinned the rise of ghettos in the suburbs.
15 percent of the Sweden’s population is foreign-born, the highest proportion in the Nordic region.
Image credit: gatesofvienna.net