As you are no doubt aware, about two dozen suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden were on fire for a week starting May 19. Young Muslim men, encoded in most news reports as “youths” or “hooligans”, rioted nonstop, torching cars and setting buildings alight, including stores, offices, apartment buildings, schools, and even a police station. The riots erupted in the suburb of Husby after police shot and killed an old man waving a machete.
The suburbs in question house predominantly immigrant populations with large contingents from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. The Sunday Telegraph visited Husby and discovered that the “police were hardly to be seen, and when they did arrive, it was purely to protect the firefighters dealing with the car blaze rather than make arrests.” The lack of a police response has resulted in few injuries, most all of them to policemen stoned by rioters.
The authorities did not, however, shirk their responsibility to issue parking tickets to the torched cars:
A Fria Tider reporter noticed this meter maid hard at work in the suburb of Alby and asked her what she was doing:
When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid, who asked Fria Tider’s photographer to destroy the photos he had taken.
As to the riots, Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Lofving was quoted in the Swedish newspaper Expressen as saying, “Our ambition is really to do as little as possible.” Lest that policy be in any way unclear, Lars Byström, media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department, elaborated:
We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait. If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.
The police did ultimately call in reinforcements to quell the rioting. Apology expected shortly.