Rioting breaks out in Malmö suburb

Rioting breaks out in Malmö suburb
Scores of young people rioted on Thursday night in Rosengård, the Malmö suburb in which tensions have been running high since the recent closure of an Islamic cultural centre.

Some 100 youths ran amok for the second straight night, setting cars and garbage bins ablaze and throwing stones at police, police said.

“We’ve had a very difficult evening. There have been fires burning since this afternoon in garbage bins and cars, there’s extensive damage to public property, and there’s been stonethrowing and bomb threats against police,” police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford told AFP.

One person was arrested during the riots, she said.

Westford said the troubles were linked to the recent closure of an Islamic cultural centre in Malmö’s heavily-immigrant populated neighbourhood Rosengård.

The owner of the building wanted to use the space for other purposes, and the Islamic centre, which housed a mosque among other things, moved out and handed over the keys.

But a group of young people squatted the office space on November 24th, and police intervened early this week to remove the occupants and empty the offices.

Police guarded the location until Wednesday, and once they left youths tried to occupy the building again.

Riots broke out on Wednesday night, when youths set fires in the area and threw stones and bottles at police. Seventeen youths were detained during those clashes.

“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,” Westford said.