Anti-police riots ease in Sweden

Immigrant neighbourhood in Malmo rocked by clashes after closing of Islamic centre.

    The rioters assembled quietly in Rosengard on Friday after days of violent clashes with police [AFP]

    Centre workers moved out peacefully and handed over the keys, but a group of youths decided to camp in the basement.

    Police officers were told to remove them, sparking protests and violent clashes.

    Garbage bins burnt

    While the city has been generally calm since Friday, some demonstrators set off firecrackers and five cars and several large garbage bins were set on fire, police said.

    "They [the rioters] have to stop, they have to take it easy. We can't resolve the problems with violence"

    Montaser Eneim, Rosengard City District Council

    Five people were arrested.
    A firebomb was also thrown at a school window in Rosengaard, starting a blaze that police rapidly brought under control.

    Much of the rioting was concentrated in Rosengard district - which has a large immigrant population.

    Community leaders have appealed for calm, with Montaser Eneim, from Rosengard City District Council telling Al Jazeera: "They [the rioters] have to stop, they have to take it easy. We can't resolve the problems with violence."

    'Unpredictable anger'

    Richard Bestic, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Malmo, reported that an "unpredictable anger" was still evident among youths who had gathered again, so far peacefully, over the weekend.

    The police "think they can appease us by joking with us, but they hassle us all the time, they arrest us for nothing and then  they're surprised that we fight back", said Ahmed Baccar, a 20-year-old unemployed Palestinian.
    His friend Rached El Ali, an 18-year-old Palestinian, said: "And they hit 11- and 12-year-old kids, set their dogs on us like they did yesterday, and then you want us to like them."

    Police reinforcements had been called in from Stockholm, the capital, and Gothenburg to quell the unrest.

    Immigrants make up around 14% of the Swedish population but, as suggested by a number of official studies, many face discrimination in housing and employment. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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