Swedish police reported that riots erupted in a heavily immigrant populated Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby after officers arrested a suspect at an underground station on drug charges. Soon after the arrest, a group gathered and started hurling rocks and other projectiles at the officers. One officer was prompted to fire a warning shot “in a situation that demanded he use his firearm,” according to police spokesman Lars Bystrom.
Bystrom added that “nobody has been found injured at the scene and we have checked the hospitals and there hasn’t been anyone with what could be gunshot wounds,”
Police were forced to retreat to a nearby gas station as the group of about 30 masked hooligans kept on throwing stones at them.
The riots continued as more thugs joined in; setting cars ablaze and looting shops. Rinkeby started to look “like a warzone” according to a journalist at the scene. A photographer from the media outlet Dagens Nyheter said that about 15 rioters beat him up while he was in the process of documenting the riot.
The photographer said: “I was hit with a lot of punches and kicks both to my body and my head. I have spent the night in hospital,”
The chaos that started at around 8 p.m., ended shortly after midnight. No arrest was made but police filed reports on three violent acts, violence against an officer, two assaults, vandalism and aggravated thefts, authorities said.
The violence in Rinkeby in which 61 percent of residents are immigrants, came days after U.S. President Donald Trump said in a rally in Florida that Sweden is “having problems like they never thought possible” because of the influx of immigrants.
At a press briefing on Monday, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he was “surprised” by Trump’s comments on Sweden and further stated that: “I think also we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly, and for verifying any information that we spread.”
Löfven added: “Yes, we have challenges like all other countries. There’s no doubt. We have a situation in the world where 65 million people had to flee their countries last year, the year before that. 65 million. So that’s a war for us together.”
Refugee migration to Sweden in 2015 had its biggest number of asylum seekers with more than 160,000 applications. In 2016, the applications dropped to almost 30,000.