“I get pissed off for real,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven hit out in an interview with Swedish radio ahead of the September 9th election, adding he wanted to ask the perpetrators “what the hell are you doing?”
“Society will come back hard on this,” said the Social Democrat leader, who also raised questions about the scope and timing of the attacks, which police suspect were coordinated via social media.
“It looks very coordinated, almost like a military operation,” Löfven said, adding that the police probe would show if the car fires were down to vandalism, organized crime or something else.
Justice and Interior Minister Morgan Johansson called the attacks “despicable”.
“Last year the government tightened the punishment for aggravated vandalism, which can now give up to six years in jail,” he tweeted. “Hope the thugs get arrested so that they get the punishment they deserved.”
Ulf Kristersson, leader of the centre-right opposition party the Moderates, wrote on Facebook that “dreadful scenes are being played out in Gothenburg”. “These are no 'protests', this is sabotage. Sweden has tolerated this far too long. It has to end,” he added.
Roger Haddad, justice spokesperson for the Liberals, called the attacks “unacceptable”.
“Parents also have to be involved, they have to be woken up and informed of what their sons are doing,” he wrote in a comment.
Around 80 cars were set on fire in western Sweden on Monday night, police said.