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Two arrested after Stockholm shopping centre is evacuated over suspected explosive object

Police have arrested two men on suspicion of breaching Sweden's flammable and explosive items law after a suspected explosive was found at a Stockholm shopping centre.

Two arrested after Stockholm shopping centre is evacuated over suspected explosive object
The Gallerian shopping mall in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The two men were arrested in the vicinity of the Gallerian shopping mall in central Stockholm on Tuesday and the building was evacuated for just over an hour while a police bomb squad removed the object for examination.

A Stockholm police press spokesperson said they would not comment on the matter. When asked by The Local if there was any danger to the public, they replied however that “if we had made that assessment we would have said it”.

Nor would police comment on a report in tabloid Aftonbladet that the suspected explosive was a “hand grenade-like object” found on one of the men while being searched by the mall's security guards.

Sweden has been struggling to crack down on the possession and use of hand grenades and illegal weapons by gangs in recent years, with explosives in circulation dating from the Yugoslav wars.

The Swedish government has proposed an amnesty between October 2018 and January 2019 in an effort to get grenades off Swedish streets.

READ ALSO: Why Swedish gangs use hand grenades (and what the country is doing about it)

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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. 

READ ALSO: 

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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