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Sweden: A comment on the recent riots in Rinkeby, Stockholm

(picture from last year’s riots in the same suburb)

Hidden underneath the media spectacle around the 2013 early summer riots in the suburbs of Stockholm (Husby being the epicentre) lies the constant social tension in segregated areas of Sweden (see Social tension and anarchist intervention in Sweden, in Avalanche #2, p.23).

Rinkeby, a suburb neighbouring to Husby, turned up the heat again. This time, it did not spread further than the nearby suburb. On July 23rd, 2014, in the Stockholm suburb of Tensta there was a car chase that ended in a crash; as the cops made an arrest, it turned into a scuffle. Shortly after this incident, there was another car chase which stopped not far from the centre of Rinkeby, in western Stockholm. As the cops tried to tow the car, they found themselves in a really aggressive tension and left the area. An hour later, the car was set on fire. The fire brigade arrived, followed by police for their protection, and immediately the cops were attacked with stones, and decided to get out of there. Soon they were back for another burning car, this time with secured vehicles, but were so massively attacked that they retreated for the third time. The continuation of unrest took the form of several torched cars, motorcycles, even buildings. The night between the 23rd and the 24th, riots broke out in Rinkeby; one person got arrested, and several were interrogated and released later on. In the night of the 24th cars were set on fire, but there were no confrontations. The following night, July 25th, there was car burning again, this time also in Husby.

The media learned from last year’s escalation, admonished by the cops, to not report and exaggerate around the rioting, and so there were only a handful of media articles. Their coverage was only given the perspectives of the nasty creatures called social workers, cops and “people who live there.” And where last year there were more and louder radical voices involved in public discussions, there was now no room for such perspectives. The social workers and the so called “people who live there” (of course, well-chosen people who want to lick the asses of the authorities shiningly clean, and not the majority of residents) were given space to express their hatred for disorder, anarchy and destruction, and their love for cops, order and democracy.

What is, however, interesting is that riots erupt nationwide in segregated areas every now and then. It is not all uncommon. In Araby, Växjö, in Gottsunda, Uppsala, in Bergsjön and Hammarkullen, Göteborg, and so on… There is no question about why the mentioned areas are the ones where unrest erupts. The poorest part of the population lives there, outlaws and outcasts live there, prison birds and mentally disorderly live there, and the population is growing with an increasing number of those who don’t fit in the disgusting normality of the “Svensson” (Swedish for “Average Joe”), and more and more people who are seeking refuge from war and disasters – partly created with guns produced by Bofors and other Swedish arms manufacturing companies – end up there.

The suburban tensions don’t seem to decline and decrease, quite the opposite, and the breeding ground for society-threatening alliances and possibilities to expand these tensions will be potential as ever before.

What are we waiting for?

Attack and reject authority, now and always!

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