POLICE in the Swedish capital Stockholm detained a number of men after they convened on a location with the intention of attacking refugee children.
Armed with literature carrying the message “It’s enough now”, and threatening to give African street children “the punishment they deserve”, up to 100 masked men – many of whom are believed to be members of hooligan gangs connected to the capital’s football teams – swept through the city.
So far, one man has been charged with assaulting a police office, while others have been charged with causing a public disturbance, and with wearing a mask in public – which is illegal in Sweden.
The gathering is thought to have been in response to last week’s fatal stabbing of Alexandra Mezher, an employee at a refugee centre for unaccompanied youths in Mölndal, near Gothenburg. Her killing has fuelled debates concerning overcrowding at some refugee centres, with too few adults capable of giving adequate care to children, many of whom are traumatised by their experiences.
After visiting Mölndal, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven remarked, “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. Many of those who come young to Sweden have traumatic experiences, and there are no easy answers.”
The Scandinavian country welcomed 160,000 asylum seekers last year alone, but numbers have dropped since photo ID checks were introduced at the start of the year.