On August 13th, cars were fire-bombed in car-parks by masked youths in what seemed as a coordinated gang attack in Sweden’s Malmö, Gothenburg and Helsinborg.
It is not known if whether the attacks are linked, however they happened at around the same time in the three cities, as reported by the Metro. About 80 vehicles were destroyed in the fires, including a truck and three caravans.
There is footage that shows the fires burning in a shopping centre and hospital car park at Frölunda Torg in the west of the country, both near Gothenburg. In the shopping centre – Trollhattan, approximately 40 people could be seen starting fires and throwing stones at the car park.
— Johan Jansson (@JJohanJJansson) August 13, 2018
Other fires were reported in Hjällbo, north-east of Gothenburg, and around 40 firefighters were called out to deal with the multiple fires.
Police announced that all the fires had been put out by midnight and that they are investigating who is behind the attacks and if the attacks across the country were related and coordinated. It is still not clear if any arrests have been made.
Sweden has seen an increase in violence in the areas that have high unemployment and other social problems, with the disturbances on Monday mirroring those of the 2013 protests in Stockholm, as reported by Reuters. It is however unclear what is the cause behind the attack.
Reuters cited the police which have said that up to 100 cars were set fire or vandalized in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-biggest city, and in nearby towns such as Trollhattan, an industrial area with high unemployment, and Falkenberg. “We believe that up to 100 cars have been burned or damaged. They were organized and prepared,” police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm said.
There is also a tendency for small-scale violence in mid-August in recent years around the end of the summer break, as reported by Reuters.
“It seems very organized, almost like a military operation. Society is always going to react strongly to this kind of thing,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in an interview on Swedish radio but did not say who might have organized the violence.
In their article regarding the attacks, ZeroHedge claimed that the attacks were organized by migrant gangs, something that has not been confirmed. ZeroHedge further elaborated that resentment has built in Sweden, after the influx of over 600,000 immigrants over the last five years, which led to a significant increase in crime rates, gang violence, complaints about education, and even pregnant mothers being turned away from maternity awards due to a lack of capacity.
On top of the attacks of August 13th, Sweden has seen a tendency of increasing violence. ZeroHedge cited a Reuters report that dozens of people have been killed in the past two years in attacks in Stockholm and other big cities by gangs that are mostly from run-down suburbs dominated by immigrants.
This attack comes just three weeks before the Swedish general election. The Swedish citizens will vote for Parliament on September 9th.
Lofven’s Social Democrats, the bigger party in the minority coalition, according to opinion polls, are on track for the worst election result ever. People’s concerns related to crime, the creaking welfare system, the falling school results and the surge of immigration have benefited the populist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party, who could possibly become the second biggest party in parliament after the vote. As reported by ZeroHedge, Sweden Democrats is an ironically named party with neo-Nazi roots that wants to freeze immigration and to hold a referendum on Sweden’s membership of the European Union. Their opposition has attempted to take a harsher approach to crime and immigration, however so far they have reportedly not been able to counter the anti-immigrant party.