Stockholm riots challenge image of happy, generous state

May 22, 2013 - by - 0 Comments

May 22, 2013 Reuters

STOCKHOLM  - Hundreds of youth have torched cars and attacked police in four nights of riots in immigrant suburbs of Sweden's capital, shocking a country that dodged the worst of the financial crisis but failed to solve youth unemployment and resentment among asylum seekers.

Violence spread from the North to the South of the city on Wednesday as groups of youth pushed through Stockholm's suburbs casting stones, breaking windows and setting cars alight. Police in the southern Swedish city of Malmo said two cars had been set ablaze.

Local media said a police station office was set on fire in the southern suburb of Rågsved, where several people were also detained. No one was hurt and the fire was quickly put out.

The attackers have awaited nightfall before setting out, defying a call for calm from the country's prime minister and damaging stores, schools, a police station and an arts and crafts centre in the four days of violence.

"I think there is a feeling that we need to be in more places tonight," said Towe Hagg, spokeswoman for Stockholm police. One police officer was injured in the latest attacks and five were arrested for attempted arson.

Selcuk Ceken, who works at a local youth activity centre in Hagsatra, said between 40 and 50 youths threw stones at police and smashed windows, then ran off in different directions. He noted the people were in their 20s and seemed well organized.

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