Worst riots in years challenge Sweden’s immigration model

Firefighters extinguish a burning car, following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista late May 21, 2013, in this picture provided by Scanpix. Sweden's capital has been hit by some of its worst riots
Firefighters extinguish a burning car, following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista late Tuesday night. Credit: Scanpix

Hundreds of youths have set fire to cars and attacked police and rescue workers in poor immigrant suburbs over three nights of rioting in Stockholm, Sweden’s worst disorder in years.

Last night, a police station in the Jakobsberg area in the northwest of the city was attacked, two schools were damaged and an arts and crafts center was set ablaze, despite a call for calm from Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The riots in one of Europe’s richest capitals have shocked a country that prides itself on a reputation for social justice, and fuelled a debate about how Sweden is coping with both youth unemployment and an influx of immigrants.

“We’ve had around 30 cars set on fire last night, fires that we connect to youth gangs and criminals,” Kjell Lindgren, spokesman for Stockholm police, said Wednesday.

He said eight people had been arrested Tuesday night, but there were no reports of injuries.

The riots appear to have been sparked by the police killing of a 69-year-old man wielding a machete in the suburb of Husby this month, which prompted accusations of police brutality.

“Everyone must pitch in to restore calm — parents, adults,” Reinfeldt told reporters Tuesday.

After decades of practicing the “Swedish model” of generous welfare benefits, Sweden has been reducing the role of the state since the 1990s, causing inequality to spike.

While average living standards are still among the highest in Europe, governments have failed to substantially reduce long-term youth unemployment and poverty, which have affected immigrant communities worst.

The left-leaning tabloid Aftonbladet said the riots represented a “gigantic failure” of government policies, which had underpinned the rise of ghettos in the suburbs.

“We have failed to give many of the people in the suburbs a hope for the future,” Anna-Margrethe Livh of the opposition Left Party wrote in the daily Svenska Dagbladet.

An anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, has risen to third in polls ahead of a general election due next year, reflecting unease about immigrants among many voters.

Some 15 percent of the population is foreign-born, the highest proportion in the Nordic region. Unemployment among those born outside Sweden stands at 16 percent, compared with 6 percent for native Swedes, according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Among 44 industrialized countries, Sweden ranked fourth in the absolute number of asylum seekers, and second relative to its population, according to U.N. figures.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.