For the past week, immigrant youths rioted in Sweden. Riots that included the breaking of windows, rock-throwing at police, destruction of property and burning of cars. Swedish police tell the Associated Press that some 220 crimes were reported to them during the violent rampage.
But instead of cracking down on the perpetrators, authorities were busy issuing parking tickets on cars that were burned by the rioters. The conservative Swedish news site Fria Tider reports that owners of some cars destroyed in the riots were fined for parking illegally, while the Swedish police force described a low-key approach to the rioters themselves. Its reporter caught a parking enforcer in the act of issuing a ticket, and shot a photo, published above the headline "Parking Tickets Issued on Wrecks While Stockholm Burns."
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Lofving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.
”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Bystrom, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”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.”
Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
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. Her employer, the parking company P-service, refused to comment when Fria Tider contacted them on Wednesday afternoon.
The BBC reports that the U.S. has warned Americans to avoid visiting the areas impacted by the riots.
The riots occurred in the predominantly immigrant-populated suburbs of the capital Stockholm. Along with other news agencies, the Associated Press reports that the unrest began after police officers “fatally shot a knife-wielding man who had locked himself in his apartment. Some residents accused police of unnecessary violence when trying to arrest him and others have said that officers, who reacted to the violence on the streets, were allegedly heard to have uttered racist slurs.”
“For some, the real reason for the unrest is the high unemployment and isolation of youths in the southern and western Stockholm suburbs where the violence occurred — ones who see little future for themselves or access to Sweden’s prosperity,” the AP added.
Blogs critical of radical Islam have taken issue with that characterization that the economic struggle motivated the riots.
Writer Bruce Bawer reviewed Scandinavian and other media accounts and writes in Front Page Magazine:
The most stirring piece I ran across – the one that did by far the best job of saying what needed to be said – was an editorial in Saturday’s Jyllands-Posten. (That’s the Danish daily, of course, that’s famous for printing the Muhammed cartoons in 2005 and for standing up to the ensuing turmoil and death threats.) Headlined “The Swedish Lie,” the editorial underscored the fact that the goons in Stockholm aren’t just “youths” – as the euphemism-loving Swedish media would have it – but Muslim bullies, products of a “Middle Eastern culture of violence,” who are “turning their aggression on other people’s property and the public order” in what is “clearly a demonstration of power.”
Swedes have expressed shock that those whom they welcomed into the country and gave generous social welfare benefits are now turning against the authorities that supported them.
According to the AP, in Husby, the Stockholm suburb where the rioting began last week, some 80 percent of the residents either immigrated themselves or are the children of immigrants.
It also reports that around 15 percent of Sweden’s population of 9.5 million are immigrants who moved predominantly from Muslim war-zones including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo, Somalia, and Syria.