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ARSON

Activists remanded for Stockholm unrest

Eight people connected to the left-wing extremist group Antifascist Action (AFA) have been remanded into custody on suspicion of offences in connection with arson attacks in Fittja in Stockholm.

The troubles broke out in Fittja, a predominantly immigrant area of southern Stockholm, earlier in the week with stone-throwing, arson and vandalism blighting the central shopping precinct. The disturbances began on Sunday and culminated on Tuesday night.

The police responded to calls to combat the continued unrest and in the process identified a 26-year-old woman known to be connected to AFA, a militant left-wing anti-fascist organization.

The woman was followed to a nearby apartment and a further eight arrests were made. Police also discovered rocks and other objects in the apartment indicating that the activists intended to target police.

A further person was arrested in connection to the unrest on Tuesday.

AFA deny police claims that the people held in custody had any connection to their organization, a denial made at length on their homepage.

On Saturday eight of those arrested, three women and five men, were remanded into custody.

The 26-year-old woman is suspected of rioting and intended arson, while the others are remanded on suspicion of intended arson.

“My client denies the crimes that she is suspected of,” the 26-year-old’s counsel Tomas Rothpfeffer told the TT news agency.

He also claimed that the police are wrong in their claims that his client is connected to AFA.

The other two people in custody with face a remand hearing at Södertörn district court on Sunday.

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STATUE

Zlatan statue toppled by vandals in Malmö

Vandals have pulled down a 2.7m statue of Malmö-born footballing legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic in apparent revenge at his decision to invest in a rival Stockholm team.

Zlatan statue toppled by vandals in Malmö
The statue tumbled to the ground after both feet were sawn off. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
At around 1.30am on Sunday morning, the attackers sawed both legs off the statue, after which it fell over, crushing the fence erected to protect it.
 
They then pulled a black Swedish national football jersey over the statue's head. 
 
On the back of the statue, and on the ground nearby, one of the vandals sprayed the words 'ta bort', meaning 'remove' or 'take away'. 
 
Thomas Söderberg, operations leader on watch for the Malmö Police, told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the damage had been discovered by police about an hour after it happened.  
 
“It was a patrol belonging to Operation Rimfront, and they needed to attend to another matter, so another patrol was sent there,” he said. 
 
The bronze statue, which weighs half a tonne, was unveiled outside Malmö's city stadium in October, with the city's most famous footballing scion flying in to attend. 
 
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Ibrahimovic was born to a Bosnian muslim father and a Catholic Croat mother in Malmö. He grew up in the troubled district of Rosengård before making his mark as a youth player and achieving stardom with the local Malmö FF team. 
 
He was then signed up by The Netherlands' Ajaz, beginning an international career which saw him play at Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG,  Manchester United and LA Galaxy. He is now back at AC Milan for what is likely to be his swan song.
 
The statue has been vandalised several times since the footballer announced that he was taking a staking in Hammarby IF, a team based in Sweden's capital Stockholm, which is seen by many Malmö FF fans as its bitterest rival.
 
Shortly after the announcement in November, a noose was placed around the statue's neck, with the words “Cigani dö” (die gypsy) daubed in paint nearby.
 
The door of the player's Stockholm house was daubed with the word Judas, a reference to the apostle who betrayed Jesus. In the same attack, a can of surströmming, the notoriously smelly Swedish fermented herring dish, was poured over the doorstep.  
 
In December, the statue's nose was cut off, and the statue itself was splashed with silver paint. 
 
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
 
 
 
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