STOCKHOLM: At least nine cars were torched and two schools and a police station were set ablaze as riots swept through Stockholm’s immigrant-dominated suburbs early Friday for the fifth straight night, police and firefighters said.
The riots, which have shattered Sweden’s image abroad as a peaceful and egalitarian nation, have sparked a debate about the assimilation of immigrants, who make up about 15 percent of the population.
Many of the immigrants who have arrived due to the country’s generous refugee policy struggle to learn the language and find employment, despite numerous government programs.
Early Friday, police told Swedish news agency TT that eight people had been arrested so far for the night’s rioting, but no injuries were reported.
In Rinkeby, one of the city’s immigrant-dominated areas, firefighters rushed to put out flames that engulfed six cars parked alongside each other. Five cars were totally gutted, and one sustained more moderate damage, according to an Agence France-Presse photographer on the scene.
Three more cars were torched in the Norsborg suburb, and a police station in Aelvsjoe was set on fire but quickly extinguished, police said.
Firefighters, meanwhile, said a school in another immigrant-heavy suburb, Tensta, was set ablaze but quickly extinguished, and a nursery school in the Kista suburb was also on fire.
And police in Soedertaelje, a town south of Stockholm, said rioters threw stones at them as they responded to reports of cars set alight.
The previous night, the fire brigade had been called to some 90 different blazes, most of them caused by rioters.