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Stockholm suburb explosion: ‘My door just flew in by several metres’

One person was injured and around 50 were evacuated from their homes following two explosions in residential buildings in a suburb of Stockholm early on Tuesday morning.

Stockholm suburb explosion: 'My door just flew in by several metres'
Police technicians investigate while residents wait outside the building. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The two blasts occurred just minutes apart and just a few hundred metres from each other in Husby, northwestern Stockholm, at around 2.30am.

One person was taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries, and the buildings suffered considerable damage. Around 50 residents were evacuated while the buildings were assessed.

“My door just flew in by several metres. It was completely crushed,” a fourth floor resident told TT.

Police had on Tuesday morning cordoned off the surrounding area so technicians could work at the scene and investigate. They were also looking into whether there were cameras in the area, and speaking to witnesses.

“We don't yet know where the explosions happened, more than that it was close to or in the buildings,” said police press spokesperson Towe Hägg.

Police believe the two incidents were connected and have opened a preliminary investigation into so-called devastation endangering the public. “It was such a short interval between them, so we're investigating this as a single incident and we'll see if that changes during the investigation,” said Hägg.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that the blast could be linked to an explosion in the upmarket Stockholm area Östermalm last week, but police could not confirm when approached by The Local.

“It's too early to say if we can connect it (with previous explosions), but we are of course trying to figure out if there are parallels with these different investigations that links them to the other detonations this past week,” police press spokesperson Ola Österling told The Local. 

The incident is being treated as a so-called “special incident”, which can be launched to deal with a range of unexpected or sudden issues which the relevant police unit needs extra help and resources to deal with.

IN DEPTH: Crime gangs in Sweden: What's behind the rise in the use of explosives?

Additional reporting by Elias Liljeström for The Local.

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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. 

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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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