Sabotage suspected in mass food poisoning

Sweden’s security service Säpo is investigating possible sabotage following an incident which left 140 people at the headquarters of Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) suffering from dysentery.

The victims, which included employees of the association, its members, and other guests, all suffered from the illness caused by the Shigella dysenteriae bacteria after eating in the office’s cafeteria several weeks ago, reports the Veckans Affärer magazine.

Five suffered symptoms so severe they were admitted to hospital.

The bacteria are most often spread via contaminated water and food, but an examination of the restaurant cafeteria failed to uncover the source of the outbreak.

So far no traces of the bacteria have uncovered from any of the several tests performed in the cafeteria’s kitchen.

According to Veckans Affärer, Säpo is leading the investigation in cooperation with Swedish police.

“The reason that the police want to investigate the case is that neither the department of infectious diseases nor the environmental department could ascertain the source of the infection and a group has also taken responsibility for the Shigella-outbreak on its website,” said the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s Marie Rudberg to the magazine.

According to the Metro newspaper, the group claiming responsibility for the attack is a left-leaning, internet-based forum which had previously staged demonstrations outside of the association’s headquarters.

Security has been stepped at the restaurant and health authorities continue working to localize the sources of the outbreak through continued interviews with around 300 people who visited the eatery over several days.


Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.