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Drunken Christmas revelries lead to arrests

Many people went overboard in their Christmas merriment this year, with arrests for public drunkenness up across Sweden over the weekend.

Drunken Christmas revelries lead to arrests

Police i Skåne county, in the south of Sweden, took 44 people into custody for being drunk and disorderly the night between Sunday and Monday, in Blekinge there were 28, in Kalmar 46 and Gävleborg 45.

Police on the Baltic island of Gotland reported that many intoxicated party-goers created all sorts of mischief on the island.

“Maybe not the most peaceful Christmas you might hope for and the question remains whether Santa Claus will visit the homes of the naughty next year,” the local police website report concluded.

In central Malmö, two police officers were almost run down at 2am by a car they tried to stop for reckless driving. Further away two other police officers tried to stop the car, but they also fled to avoid being run over.

The police fired two shots at the car, but it continued towards E 65 highway, heading in the wrong direction to traffic. There, the police were able to pull the car over. A total of seven people in the car were arrested. The charges include two counts of attempted murder, attempted assault and reckless driving.

Three people were also fished out of the canal near a central night club in Malmö.

“We got the call that a woman was paddling around the canal and another woman had jumped in to save her. When we arrived we found three people lying in the water. We fished them out and drove them to the hospital,” said Marie Persson of the Skåne police to news agency TT.

A total of 45 people ended up sleeping off their drunkenness in police stations around Skåne.

“That’s double as many as an ordinary weekend, but not worse than last Christmas,” said Persson to TT.

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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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