Stockholm travellers a repeat problem: police

A travelling community has moved on after Stockholm University exchange students were forced out of their accommodation over safety concerns, with police claiming the situation is nothing new.

Stockholm travellers a repeat problem: police

Students were told by Stockholm University on Friday that their safety could not be guaranteed over the weekend after the inhabitants of an estimated 50 illegally camped caravans were accused of driving recklessly and making nearby residents feel unsafe.

German exchange student Tanja Altunjan was one of the residents asked to leave the university accommodation, which lies in a cul-de-sac surrounded by pine forest on the edge of Kista, a suburban district in north-western Stockholm.

Students had to pass the enormous car park where the travellers had set up camp to get home.

Altunjan was left seething about the ordeal.

“We are the ones who have paid money to stay here and we are being kicked out. It feels like we have been evicted because they can’t evict (them),” she told The Local.

Fredrik Gårdare of the West Stockholm police confirmed that the travellers had left, and added that local police had been in contact with them previously.

“We had moved them several times from other positions; they started in Solvalla before they settled in Kista,” he told The Local.

He added that it was Sweden’s Debt Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden) – the only agency authorized to carry out evictions – that had demanded the campers be moved on, as they were staying in a car park that was private property.

RELATED STORY:Students forced out over traveller safety fears

“It happens every year, we have nothing against them as long as they do nothing illegal,” he added.

However, police confirmed they had sent patrols to the area several times after students complained of feeling threatened by members of the community.

Camilla Westerborn, a spokeswoman for Stockholm University, said the students were evicted for their own safety.

“Because of security issues, some students didn’t feel safe. I’ve been there and you do feel very alone walking around at night in the area,” she told The Local.

She added that students were offered new accommodation in Fjällis and Kungshamra, and that the university paid for the taxis to take them there.

Westerborn added that while she was aware of similar incidents in the past, the size of the camping community had been bigger this year than before, prompting university staff to think about their next move.

“We will have a meeting this week to discuss what we plan to do in the future. We are still offering Kista as an accommodation option for incoming exchange students in September,” she told The Local.

“But we have done all we can for the students, and we don’t want this to happen again.”

Douglas Revolta

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Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).