Day Three Of Rioting In Normally-Calm Sweden -- What's Behind It?

 @MayaErgas
on May 22 2013 12:05 PM

Swedish youths have been rioting for three consecutive nights in the suburbs of Stockholm. Why? Immigration and “unintegrated immigrants” seem to be at least part of the problem. Youth unemployment is particularly high among immigrants, and Sweden also attracts a higher number of immigrants relative to some of its neighbors, the Financial Times reports.

Car on fire in Sweden A car set on fire burns, following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista late May 21, 2013, in this picture provided by Scanpix. Sweden's capital has been hit by some of its worst riots in years after youths scorched dozens of cars, attacked a police station and threw stones at rescue services in its poor immigrant suburbs for a third night running.  Reuters/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Fifteen percent of Sweden’s population is made up of immigrants and their descendants, and the unemployment among immigrants is 16 percent, compared with 6 percent for the native population.

The three days of riots have now raised questions among the media as to whether these immigrants are “well integrated.” Most are pinpointing the start of the unrest to a police shooting on May 13, when officers shot a 69-year-old man who was reportedly wielding a machete or a knife.

At least eight people were arrested Tuesday, Reuters said. Around 30 cars, a school, and a nursery were victims of arson on Wednesday night, a police spokesman told AP. Al-Jazeera reported crowds of 200 people hurling rocks at police.

“It is very similar to what we have seen in London or Paris but not yet on that scale. But it is a sign of a similar problem; it is a sign of failing integration,” Per Adman, associate professor at Uppsala University, told Financial Times.

One suburb largely populated by immigrants, Husby, has been particularly affected. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt issued a statement urging people to “regain calm,” and saying, “We will not give in to violence.”

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