More than 40 Indian families in densely populated Stockholm suburbs are worried over explosive protests in the past week, which one Indian immigrant described as “unusually fearsome”.
The ongoing crisis appears to have been triggered by police action which led to the death of a violent, 69-year-old armed immigrant in an apartment in Husby earlier last week. He allegedly threatened the police with a machete when they attempted to overpower him.
Claiming that police had deliberately killed the man, large groups of youngsters, armed with weapons including petrol-filled flasks, went on rampage in the centre of Husby, burning a number of vehicles and smashing windows all around the square.
When the police arrived, they were repulsed with showers of stones and bottles. Even reinforcements proved incapable of containing the violence. The locals remained indoors, not daring to step out in the evenings.
Arun Singh, an Indian immigrant of many years, told IANS over telephone: “We are long-time residents in Husby. Although we are used to sporadic ethnic violence here, this is unusually fearsome.”
It is estimated that there are about 14,500 persons of Indian origin and about 4,000 Indian nationals living in Sweden.
Awad Hersi, a Somali councillor of the Husby municipal council, told IANS, “The events taking place here are part of a long-festering disenchantment among the immigrants here, particularly among the new generations, who neither know the old values nor have acquired any new values.”
“They are vastly unemployed with no hope for getting any. Most among those that have any employment work illegally. These are the root causes that ferment todays uprising,” he said.
The densely immigrant-inhabited surburbs of Stocholm, Husby, Tensta and Rinkeby, notoriously labelled ‘the Stockhom ghettos’ for their massively polyethnic ways of living, have been in a state of explosive protests since last Sunday, the latest among such eruptions.
Over 40 Indian families and even more from Bangladesh and Pakistan have been established here for a long time.
According to a UNICEF report, the suburbs house no less than 120 ethnicities that speak even more languages. The highly segregated communities have high levels of unemployment that result in constant violence.