Thursday

18th Apr 2019

Swedish police halt planned anti-migrant rampage

  • Anti-migrant group gathered on Stockholm's Sergels Torg square. (Photo: Beat Küng)

Sweden's uneasiness with the migrant crisis reached a new level over the weekend after dozens of men were stopped by the police Friday night (29 January) in Stockholm as they planned to attack young migrants.

About 100 men dressed in black gathered on Sergels Torg, a square near the capital's main train station, and handed out leaflets inciting people to attack migrants.

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"It's enough now," said the leaflet, which accused the growing number of refugees in Sweden of bringing criminality.

"The North African street children who are roaming around [will get] the punishment they deserve," the flyer said.

The men, thought to be hooligans from Stockholm football teams, clashed with the police and were disbanded. Witnesses said the men attacked some people who looked like foreigners, although police said they had not received a report of any violent incident.

“They were scattering leaflets which had the intention to incite people to carry out crimes,” the Stockholm police said on its website.

Interior minister Anders Ygeman condemned "racist groups who threaten and disseminate hatred in public space". He said Swedish society should "strongly respond" to that "worrying trend".

Threats and violence

On Saturday, anti-immigration activists demonstrated in Stockholm to ask for more migrant deportations and for the resignation of prime minister Stefan Loefven. They were booed by anti-fascists, who held a protest against Friday night's incidents.

The rising tension follows the death of a social worker in a migrant centre earlier last week. A 22-year old woman was stabbed by a 15-year old unaccompanied asylum seeker near the southern city of Gothenburg.

Although the reason for the crime is unknown, the death of the young woman inflamed the debate about immigration. Last year Sweden received 163,000 migrants including 35,000 unaccompanied minors, according to Swedish Migration Agency’s figures.

The agency also said threats and violence against asylum centres had doubled compared with the previous year, with more than 20 places destroyed or damaged by fire.

Faced with an unprecedented flow, the government reversed Sweden's traditional welcoming policy and reintroduced border controls in early January. Last week, it announced a plan to expel 80,000 rejected asylum seekers.

In a poll published last week, the far-right Sweden Democrats party was first with 28.8 percent, a seven-point lead over the governing Social-Democrat Party.

Sweden keen to slow Europe's 'refugee highway'

German, Swedish, and Danish ministers have vowed to maintain the EU's passport-free Schengen zone amid broader moves to stem the flow of migrants and asylum seekers.

Analysis

Bell tolls for EU asylum reforms

The cornerstone the EU's asylum reforms referred to by the shorthand as 'Dublin' could end up in the scrapheap following the European elections in May.

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