Malmö residents band together to stave off riots and clean up city

Malmö residents band together to stave off riots and clean up city
Malmö council staff clearing up shattered glass at a bus shelter on Saturday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Malmö riots sparked by far-right activists burning a Koran gradually petered out over the weekend, after residents in the area took to the street with police and religious representatives to promote a calmer approach.

Images of young men throwing rocks at police in Malmö's Rosengård district hit the headlines on Friday, but police officer Fredrik Brokopp told public broadcaster SVT that one man instead threw roses at his car on Saturday.

“He expressed appreciation for the work we have done. He wanted to be clear that far from everyone shares the attitude of those who took part in the violent riot on Friday,” Brokopp told SVT.

“It's nice for us as police and wonderful from the perspective of the area that there are positive forces out there. Because things easily become black or white.”

Police told Swedish media that Saturday night had been calmer than Friday, and Sunday even more so.

More police officers from other parts of Sweden were called in to patrol the streets of Malmö following the unrest on Friday, and police said that local residents in the area had contributed to bringing about a more peaceful mood.

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Police putting out fires on Friday. Photo: TT

Religious representatives and many adults took to the streets over the weekend to help keep things calm.

“It was very mixed, women and men, old and young. I think that helps create a sense of calm. It makes it harder for those who are interested in fighting and causing harm,” said Brokopp.

A far-right rally – and counter protesters – at the Stortorget square in Malmö on Friday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The unrest started when a group of activists linked to Danish politician Rasmus Paludan's far-right party Hard Line posted a video of themselves burning a copy of the Koran in Malmö.

Around a dozen rioters were arrested during Friday night, as well as a number of people involved in far-right rally where a Koran was kicked around on the ground in the Stortorget square in central Malmö.

Police had earlier on Friday stopped Paludan himself on the border and banned him from entering Sweden for two years. Six people at Stortorget were seized by police on suspicion of agitation against ethnic groups.

Police are also investigating a video said to have been filmed at the riots on Friday, in which anti-Semitic slogans are being chanted.

Staff from Malmö municipality and residents spent Saturday and Sunday clearing up some of the destruction left behind by the violent riots, which saw over 300 rioters smashing bus shelters, overturning lampposts, destroying billboards and peltering the police with stones and tyres.

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