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Stockholm 'back to normal' as riots subside

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Stockholm 'back to normal' as riots subside
09:38 CEST+02:00
A few cars were set alight in the Stockholm suburbs early on Tuesday morning, but police have said the situation in the Swedish capital has returned to normal following a week of disturbances.

"Now we're back to normal. There was no rioting, and only a few torched cars, fewer than ten," Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said.

IN PICTURES: Day three of the Stockholm riots

There were no reports of unrest in other Swedish towns either.

More than 150 cars and dozens of buildings have been torched in the past week of nightly unrest, which began on May 19th in the Stockholm suburb of Husby, where 80 percent of inhabitants are immigrants.

It was apparently triggered by the police shooting and killing of a 69-year-old resident who had wielded a machete in public.

IN PICTURES: See the damage from the Husby fires

Local activists said the shooting sparked anger among youths who claim to have suffered from police brutality and racism.

The unrest began to ease significantly on May 24th, when police reinforcements were called in from other parts of the country and large groups of volunteers patrolled the streets to deter troublemakers.

Given Sweden's traditional reputation as one of the world's most tranquil countries, the riots came as a surprise to many foreigners.

IN PICTURES: See what people in Husby had to say about the riots

Among Swedes themselves, the violence sparked debate over the integration of immigrants, many of whom arrive under the country's generous asylum policies and who now make up about 15 percent of the population.

In recent decades, Sweden became one of Europe's top destinations for immigrants and asylum seekers, both in absolute numbers and relative to its size.

But many of them struggle to learn the language and find employment, despite numerous government programmes.

AFP/The Local/dl

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