Sweden starts 2010 in typically messy fashion

Sweden starts 2010 in typically messy fashion
The early hours of 2010 were marked by fights, drunkenness, and fires in many parts of Sweden, as a well as traffic accidents and stray rockets.

But in Sweden’s three largest cities, police reported that the night and early morning were relatively calm.

It was a relatively typical start to the new year, according Johan Ljung, officer in charge of Västra Götaland’s Police.

“We were getting calls constantly, and there were many fights and a lot of drunkenness. Since it is so cold, we have to work hard to try to take care of all those who get stuck in the snow and the like,” he told the TT news agency.

Stockholm police duty officer Inger Qvennerstedt also thought the night had been relatively calm.

“There is a lot of drunkenness, assault, fires and people who have been injured with knives and firearms. But these have not led to more serious incidents than usual, and as far as we know, no one has been seriously injured,” she told TT.

By Friday morning Qvennerstedt could look back on more than 700 incidents that occurred within the space of four hours.

“It is a lot, and we have had a lot to do throughout the night and the morning,” she reported.

The same story was reported by Anders Nilsson of the Skåne police in Blekinge in southern Sweden.

Between 9pm on New Year’s Eve and 4:30am on New Year’s Day, the police had registered nearly 600 incidents, including 19 people taken into custody and 62 arrests.

While Skåne as a whole remained relatively calm, there were many arrests for drunkenness in Kalmar in the country’s far south, according to police.

“Our patrols are not finished yet,” said police spokesperson Mikael Kaiser.

Two men were also assaulted in separate incidents in Kalmar. Both men received serious facial lacerations and were hospitalized. In one of the cases, involving an assault with a broken bottle outside a bakery, a suspect was apprehended.

According to Johan Ljung of the Västra Götaland police in west central Sweden, the start of the New Year had kept him busy.

More than 300 incidents had been reported between midnight and 5am, including the arrest of a man suspected of raping a woman at a restaurant in central Gothenburg.

Numerous other cases of assault, robbery and other violence were reported around the country, including the arrest of a 22-year-old man in Karlstad, after two young women reported that they had been raped at a private party.

A number of fire-related incidents also occurred in the first hours of the new year.

In Vimmerby in south central Sweden ten people lost their homes after a fire broke out in an apartment block. And just outside Jönköping four people were taken to hospital after a New Year’s rocket set fire to a balcony. None of the four were seriously injured.

In Norrköping, however, a seven-year-old boy was admitted to hospital with eye injuries following another rocket-related accident.

The frigid conditions may also have contributed to a number of serious car accidents around the country on New Year’s Eve.

In Hallstahammar, west of Stockholm, a 60-year-old woman was killed when two vehicles collided head-on on the motorway 252. The cause of the collision is not yet known. A further two people – a 63-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman – received serious injuries in the accident, and were rushed to hospital, according to Ann-Charlotte Israelsson, from the Västmanland’s police.

There was another serious car accident In Gunnarskog in Värmland in central Sweden, where a car careered into a tree, and a man was rushed, unconscious, to Arvika Hospital in a serious condition.

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