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POLICE

Police arrest 32 in ‘human trafficking’ raid

Swedish police arrested 32 people in a raid on a food factory south of Stockholm on Thursday for violations of the Aliens Act.

Police now suspect that many of the arrested workers could have been victims of human trafficking.

“That was not in our minds when we started, but after interviews we are having a closer look,” said Stefan Hagberg at the Swedish border police told the Aftonbladet daily.

Police officers raided the factory just as many were arriving for work at 8am on Thursday.

The premises belongs to Eat Food Factory Europa AB, one of Scandinavia’s largest producers of chilled ready-meals and a supplier to, among others, Coop, Lidl, SJ, SAS and Mat på jobbet.

According to Aftonbladet the majority of those arrested in the raid come from Uzbekistan or other former Soviet republics.

When the police arrived at the factory in Jordbro south of Stockholm there were 54 people working in the factory, 32 were detained and taken from the premises.

Eat Food Factory’s owner Murat Korkmaz played down the significance of the raid.

“There is nothing untoward. The police often carry out these kinds of checks. They are just checking that the identity papers in the the employees’ paper checks out,” he said to Aftonbladet.

Korkmaz told the newspaper he felt let down by his employees, claiming they tricked him with false papers.

The raid isn’t the first time the company has been hit with suspicions of sub-standard labour practices.

In 2008, when the company was called Mo Catering, workers described how asylum seekers and undocumented workers were forced to work under “slave-like” conditions.

However, the accusations were denied by company officials, who claimed the complaints were unfounded.

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PROTESTS

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.

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