‘He was carrying a long knife’: shooting witness

Police officers shot a man threatening passers-by with a knife, in the Gamla Stan area of Stockholm on Friday afternoon.

'He was carrying a long knife': shooting witness

“He made lunges at me and was carrying a long knife,” a witness told news agency TT.

The witness said police fired three to five shots after a middle-aged man approached passers-by with a knife at Skeppsbron.

The man, who is allegdly born in 1976, ignored police orders to drop his weapon. After two warning shots, police officers shot the man in the leg.

“When the patrol came to the scene and talked to the man he ignored their commands,” said Ulf Lindgren of the Stockholm police to Dagens Nyheter (DN).

“Then, they fired warning shots to show the man that it was time to drop the knife. The man continued in the direction of police officers and they fired.”

The severity of the man’s injuries remain unclear and he was taken to hospital around 2pm on Friday afternoon.

Police are unsure if anyone else was injured during the ordeal.

“I have received no information if anyone has been injured by the man with the knife,” Lindgren told the paper.

Witnesses also noted that the man seemed to be under the influence of something.

Police cordoned off the area and traffic was at a standstill in the hours following the event.

According to Ann-Sofie Sommerdahl of the Stockholm police, an investigation is already underway.

“And there will be a hearing among the policemen involved,” she told TT.

Police have labelled the incident as attempted aggravated assault.

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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.