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Man arrested after tear gas attack at Swedish police station

A police station in the town of Gävle was the target of a tear gas attack during Friday night.

Man arrested after tear gas attack at Swedish police station
File photo: Daniella Backlund/SvD/TT

A tear gas grenade was thrown into a garage area at the station. A man was arrested shortly afterwards for sabotage and violent behaviour towards public servants, TT reports.

“A police car was on its way into the detention centre and when the garage door opened, the suspect threw a tear gas grenade into it, aimed at the car,” Pär Olsson, duty officer with the Central (Mitt) Region police, said.

No police officers were injured during the incident, but smoke spread through the garages and partly into the building. Emergency services attended to clear smoke from the area.

The suspect fled from the scene on a moped, but a number of police patrol cars were dispatched, resulting in his detention shortly afterwards, police confirmed.

After speaking to prosecutors, the subject, who is 35 years old, was arrested.

Further investigation of the incident, including interviews and forensic examination was scheduled to take place on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Threats against Swedish police and prosecutors on the rise

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PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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