One May 13, a 69-year-old man was killed by the police in Husby, which is largely dominated by immigrant population. The man reportedly a Portuguese immigrant, threatened to kill his wife with a machete and it was then he was shot and killed by the police.
After six days of the incident, initial reports of violence emerged in the news. As the reporting unfolded it was revealed that the violence had spiraled into a sort of uprising. Hundreds of cars were torched, schools were vandalized and police stations were attacked by masked young men.
The riots in Sweden which lasted for almost a week exposed the other of a country known for its welfare and respect for individual rights. The violent demonstrations brought mainly two issues into light; disparity and terrorism. We shall take a look at each and try to deduce something out of it.
When riots erupted over the killing of the Portuguese immigrant in Husby and began to spread in other suburbs of Stockholm, many citizens of the city complained that it was just an excuse for vandalism an nothing else. According to them, people behind the violence were mostly immigrants who wanted to, as if, terrorize other citizens of Sweden.
On social media, a lot of talk about Muslim vandalism was shared. People wrote on Twitter that the Muslim immigrants were creating trouble for everyone and that they shouldn’t have been allowed into the country to begin with.
One user wrote on Twitter, “Parasites never benefit the host. The host benefits the parasites. Muslims destroying Sweden.”
Disparity: Immigrant/Minority Woes:
While the terrorized citizens claimed that immigrants were terrorizing the city on purpose, the immigrants also revealed their side of the story to the media. Following the riots, an interview with the immigrant population of Husby revealed that Sweden was not as democratic and tolerant as everyone thought it was. More than 80% of the population here comprises of immigrants. The people there narrated the stories of their woes which included fruitless job hunts, racial taunts, police harassment and poverty.
One immigrant told Reuters, “My daughter comes home from school and says the kids say they can't play with her because she's dark," said Maria Petersson, a 39 year old Ethiopan-born nurse. "I am both Ethiopian and Swedish but I will never be considered Swedish by the Swedes. To them, I am just another immigrant.”
Stories of police brutality and taunts were also reported. A student and founder of the youth organization Megafonen told the Swedish edition of online newspaper, The Local, that he had been insulted racially by police. He said teenagers had been called ‘monkeys’ and ‘apes.’
Judging both sides of the stories, we can safely conclude that it all comes down to the government. Sweden indeed has an ‘immigrant’ problem but it doesn’t have everything to do with their vandalism. Maybe it’s time for the country’s government to do an overview of its citizens’ needs and wants. This also doesn’t mean that the violence is justified because it’s absolutely not. Some really effective steps have to be taken by the government of Sweden in order to prevent these riots (which have now stopped) from spiraling into something bigger and uncontrollable.