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POLICE

Teens arrested for Kalmar mall fire

Four teenagers, aged between 15 and 18, are suspected of being behind the violent fire that ravaged the Berga Centrum shopping centre in Kalmar in southern Sweden on Thursday night.

Teens arrested for Kalmar mall fire

The teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Three of the boys were taken in for interrogations around noon Friday, and the fourth suspect was taken in later the same day.

According to Ulf Einarsson, in charge of the arson case, tips and investigation ideas led them to the four suspects.

“We’ve received many tips, and their names occurred repeatedly among the names mentioned,” he said to news agency TT.

The four boys live in Kalmar, but are not from the Berga neighbourhood. The police were aware of all four suspects previously, Einarsson told local newspaper Barometern.

Thursday night’s blaze has left the Berga Centrum shopping centre largely in ruins. Although no people were injured in the fire, the shopping centre could not be saved, despite work to extinguish the fire that went on through the night.

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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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