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OFFBEAT

Gang hijacked Malmö grocery store and ran it as normal for a day

Four men have been remanded in custody after they forcefully evicted shop workers in a Malmö grocery store – only to keep running the store themselves before police arrived to put an end to it.

Gang hijacked Malmö grocery store and ran it as normal for a day
File photo of a shopping basket. Photo: Andreas Apell/TT

The gang had threatened the owners on several previous occasions to blackmail them for money, without success, and last week they returned to the store, reports the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

“They went into the store and took it over. That is, they threw out the people working there and continued to run the store and sell goods. They hijacked a grocery store!” local police station chief Mats Attin told Sydsvenskan after his officers were alerted by the owners.

“They got in touch and we went there in plain clothes and sure enough, these four people were inside. They had been restocking shelves, and we've caught it on video. It went on for at least 24 hours,” he said, incredulous. “I've been in Malmö for a long time, but never seen anything like this.”

The men are in their 20s. One of them, thought to be the leader, has a string of previous convictions, reports Sydsvenskan. He is from Malmö's Seved district, where he and a relative are understood to have been responsible for much of the area's criminality.

On Monday Malmö District Court remanded the men on suspicion of aggravated blackmail and aggravated unlawful dispossession.

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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