Swedish police warn of upsurge in far-right violence
Warning comes after 100 masked men march in Stockholm over killing at refugee centre
Stockholm police talk to participants of a movement calling itself “The People’s Demonstration” which held a meeting and demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Marcus Ericsson/TT/AFP/Getty Images
Swedish police have warned of an upsurge in far-right violence after a gang of about 100 black-clad and masked men marched through Stockholm on Friday night.
The march, and reports of attacks on possible asylum seekers, came after the killing on Monday of a social worker at a refugee centre. On Saturday, the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats held a demonstration calling for the resignation of the government over the migration crisis.
Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper reported the black-clad men distributed leaflets headlined “enough already” on Friday and threatened to give “north African street children roaming around” the “punishment they deserve”.
Police told the Aftonbladet: “They were scattering leaflets which intended to incite people to carry out crimes.”
A police spokesman said the Friday night march, linked to hooligan gangs associated with Stockholm soccer teams, turned violent about 9pm when police made three arrests.
An eye witness told the Aftonbladet how a group of the men beat up people, possibly asylum seekers, in Stockholm’s central Sergels torg square.
“I saw maybe three people who got hit, I was quite scared so I left,”
said the unnamed eye-witness to the Aftonbladet.
Police said they had received no reports of violent attacks, though interior minister Anders Ygeman said the Friday incident showed the need to tackle “with force... racist groups spreading hate and violence in our streets”.
The neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement issued a statement saying it had “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa” around the central station because police “have clearly shown they lack the means to stave off their rampage”.
“We see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve,” the statement continued.
Sweden accepted more than 160,000 asylum seekers last year but, since last October alone, police have registered more than 5,000 violent incidents involving asylum seekers, either as victims or perpetrators.