Unrest in Sweden widens

Swedish police look at a fire set by protesters.
Swedish police look at
a fire set by protesters.

STOCKHOLM — A fourth night of unprecedented riots in Stockholm has seen unrest spread, with a restaurant and up to 40 cars burnt, police told the BBC.

Three police officers were hurt as rioters threw stones and directed laser pointers at emergency services.

The worst of the latest rioting was in the south of the city, not the north-west where it began on Sunday.

Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said the rioters were a “mixture of every kind of people”.

The violence began in the deprived, largely immigrant suburb of Husby, days after police shot dead an elderly man there who had reportedly threatened to kill them with a machete.

Activists in the area have accused police of racist behaviour – an accusation greeted with scepticism by the police themselves.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said everybody must take responsibility for restoring calm in Stockholm.

“It’s important to remember that burning your neighbour’s car is not an example of freedom of speech, it’s hooliganism,” he said on yesterday.

It is unclear how many cars have been burnt since Sunday as a result of the rioting, Lindgren told the BBC.

But last night 10 attacks were reported in the north-western suburbs while between 20 and 30 were burnt in southern parts of Stockholm.

Firefighters struggled to contain the fire at the restaurant in the southern suburb of Skogas, where young people pelted them with stones, the spokesman said.

Groups of rioters, as small as five people and as large as 100, have been seen this week, Lindgren said. They typically wait for emergency services to attend a fire before attacking.

Green laser pointers have also been shone in the eyes of the emergency services, according to Lindgren. (BBC)

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