Masked and dressed in black, nearly 100 men came together in Stockholm Friday to decry refugees as well as distribute pamphlets telling people they should do the same, the BBC reported.
The pamphlets reportedly read, “It’s enough now!” and, “North African street children who were roaming around [should get] the punishment they deserve.” A police spokesperson said there were no reports of violence against refugees, but there were witness accounts of men beating up people who appeared to be foreign.
Four people have been charged in relation to the incident, the Guardian reported. One was charged with assaulting a police officer, and the others were charged with causing a public disturbance and wearing a mask in public, a crime in Sweden.
Sweden has seen some 163,000 refugees, most from the Middle East, apply for asylum in the past year — the most per capita in Europe — which has heightened tensions in the country. This week, a 22-year-old woman who worked at a center for children seeking asylum was fatally stabbed, for which a 15-year-old asylum-seeker was arrested on suspicion of murder, the BBC reported.
Many of those seeking asylum in Europe are Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis escaping conflict in their homelands driven by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, Al Jazeera reported. Sweden could expel 80,000 refugees the because of rejected applications for asylum.
“I think many people are concerned and worried that there will be more violence since Sweden has received so many unaccompanied children and young people,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said, according to the Guardian. “Many of those who come young to Sweden have traumatic experiences, and there are no easy answers.”
While Sweden is known for its warm welcome of refugees, some groups at the end of last year became hostile to those fleeing to their country, the Washington Post reported. Anti-refugee sentiment has fed into the growing popularity of the Sweden Democrats, a far-right political party.