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.