Just days after U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that a major terror incident happened in Sweden last Friday, an actual riot broke out Monday night in the town of Rinkeby. The riot, perpetuated by groups of radicalized migrants, effectively set the Swedish town on fire, resulting in significant property damage and police officers being injured.
According to Swedish news organization Expressen, the Rinkeby riots started around 8:30 pm.m local time after police officers apprehended a man next to the town’s metro station. A number of people were injured as a result of the riots, including a pedestrian who was beaten and robbed on the way home and a photographer from the media being hospitalized after getting attacked by around a dozen rioters.
The rioters reacted aggressively due to the police’s actions at the metro station. Immediately after apprehending the suspect, around 30 rioters, allegedly composed largely of radicalized migrants, began pelting the officers with stones. The attack on the police was so intense that the officers decided to initially fire warning shots.
— Prof Ferrada de Noli (@ProfessorsBlogg) February 21, 2017
In a later statement, however, police spokesperson Lars Bystrom stated that the continued attacks on the officers resulted in the authorities firing not just for warning, but for effect. This means that, unlike warning shots, the rounds the officers fired as the attack continued were directed at specifics targets.
“Our officers were attacked by a number of people, some of them masked, who threw stones. They felt under so much pressure that a shot had to be fired,” Bystrom stated, according to NTEB News.
The riots did not end with the assault on the police and pedestrians, with the perpetrators eventually moving on and looting shops in the area. Even before the dust settled, however, another riot broke out in the area.
During the second wave of riots, a number of young people added havoc to the Swedish town. Numerous storefronts were aggressively vandalized and around a dozen cars were burned. Police have remarked that the second wave of attacks, unlike the first, appeared to have been carefully staged and planned. Kim Malmgren, a reporter from the Expressen, described the scene as the second wave of riots unfolded.
“There are still two cars burning. The rescuers have gone into the center to start putting out the fires. Even the police are there with helmets and protective gear. Altogether, I have seen 4-5 police buses in the area.”
— I_Was_@Sweden (@I_was_Sweden) February 20, 2017
At around 11:30 p.m. local time, police officers were able to strategically position themselves at Rinkeby’s underground station. During this time, several stores have already been looted, around a dozen cars have been burnt, and the parts of the town are already reminiscent of war zones. Ulf Johansson, the regional police chief, stated that the incident was very serious.
“Of course it is very serious that the police officers were attacked on the job. What we see may be a result of our increased pressure on criminals in the area. But I can assure that we are resilient and will not leave. Rather, we will intensify our work.”
The grim scenes of Rinkeby during the aftermath of the riot appear to echo the words of U.S. President Donald Trump last week when the brazen billionaire turned politician alleged that violent incidents are happening in Sweden. With no notable attacks happening on Swedish soil recently, however, the U.S. President was largely mocked for announcing false information. As it turns out, however, Trump’s statements could easily have been accurate, had he conducted his campaign rally just a few days later.
Around 61 percent of residents in Rinkeby are born abroad, and violence has been rising in the region over the past few years, and it appears to have taken a toll on the authorities in the region. A study conducted last September, for one, has concluded that more than half of active police officers in the region are considering a career change due to the dangers they face on the job.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]