Rioting ebbs in Stockholm, parents walk streets | News | DW | 26.05.2013
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Rioting ebbs in Stockholm, parents walk streets

Swedish police say rioting in Stockholm has ebbed despite a seventh night of scattered violence. The unrest has spurred debate among Swedes over policies to integrate immigrants in a country long seen as egalitarian.

Stockholm police spokesmen said on Sunday that rioting, which youths began a week ago in capital's outlying northeastern suburb of Husby appeared to being easing.

"We are on the way to normalizing the situation," said spokesman Kjell Lindgren. "There were no violent gatherings of people or violence against our officers."

He added though that on Saturday night windows had been smashed at a school in southern Stockholm and 16 people arrested. Elsewhere in Stockholm, soccer fans had gathered outdoors to watch broadcasts of the Champions League final from London.

Parents walk streets to deter tensions

Lindgren referred to volunteers and parents who had walked streets to deter trouble, saying "the strong presence of the good forces, and police reinforcements" had helped to calm tensions.

Lindgren said around 60 people have been detained, suspected of various crimes during the past week. Most of them had been released awaiting charges, he added.

Investigations had shown that organized rioters, seasoned criminals and young teenagers have been involved in burning cars, smashing windows and throwing rocks at police in the low-income, predominantly immigrant areas of the Swedish capital over the past week, he said.

A day earlier, the unrest had spread to other middle-sized towns in Sweden, but early on Sunday there were no reports of trouble outside the capital.

Heavy-handedness blamed

The riots were ostensibly sparked by the May 13 shooting of a 69-year-old man in Husby, where 80 percent of the inhabitants are immigrants. Immigrant groups accused police of heavy-handedness.

In a country long seen as tranquil and egalitarian, the unrest has spurred debate among Swedes over the integration of immigrants. Many arrived under the country's generous asylum policies and now make up about 15 percent of the population.

According to a report published earlier this year by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), inequality surged in Sweden by one third between 1985 and 2008, but Scandinavian nations still rank among the nine most equal members of the 34-nation group of leading economies.

ipj/pfd (dpa, AFP, AP)