Saturday, May 25, 2013

Swedish riots spark surprise and anger

Cars burning in Husby as rioting spread to several cities in Sweden last week. Photograph: Fredrik Sandberg
The pace of the neighbourhood watch suddenly picks up. "Here's the fire we've been waiting for," grins Samiy, an Iraqi in a bulky jacket.

It's half past two in the morning and Samiy, along with dozens of others from local Islamic groups and community organisations, has spent the night patrolling the streets of Husby, the suburb at the centre of riots in Stockholm.

Soon there's an acrid stench of burning plastic, and flickers become visible around the footbridge that the group is now jogging towards. A dumper truck on the road below is burning as a crowd of young men look on. Most claim to be watchmen, but as soon as a fire engine arrives, 10 or more rush to the bridge and begin pelting a firefighter who runs up.

"It's enough. It's enough," cries Jamil Hakim, from a group called Safe Husby. "Two nights was fun. But it's enough. It's not fun any more."