New Rosengård fires ‘revenge’: police

Police in Malmö claim a recent wave of deliberately set fires in the city’s heavily-immigrant Rosengård neighbourhood constitutes an act of retaliation for recent arrests.

New Rosengård fires 'revenge': police

Almost every night this week, emergency services in Malmö have had to contend with young people throwing rocks, bottles, and eggs as crews ventured into Rosengård to put out fires set around the neighbourhood.

Late Thursday night into Friday, several dumpsters and a communal recycling station were set ablaze. Around 40 police officers were called in before firefighters could begin putting out the fire.

There were no injuries, although two young people were detained for refusing to move when instructed.

Police have made significant strides recently in neutralizing some of the more influential criminals in the crowded neighbourhood.

“According to our intelligence, the fires and stone throwing are directed toward us. The trigger is that we’ve succeeded in picking up five important figures from the criminal network which is ravaging the area. They are now being subject to a number of measures,” said Börje Aronsson of the Rosengård neighbourhood police force to the TT news agency.

Prior to Thursday night’s fires, people have set fire to cars, as well as rubbish bins in stairwells and basements, only to launch attacks on firefighters when they arrive to extinguish the flames.

In addition to firefighters, park and road workers and other contractors have also had rocks thrown at them.

Aronsson attributes the violence in part to the crowded living conditions in the area as well as the social exclusion that results.

“Rosengård is built for 5,400 people. But between 8,000 and 9,000 people live here. Children and young people don’t stay at home but instead are out late into the evenings and sometimes well into the middle of the night,” he said.

In the most troubled section of the area, Herrgården, adult employment stands at 86 percent, leaving most of the residents dependent on social welfare payments.

“That’s a catastrophic figure,” said Aronsson.


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.