Since last Sunday, May 19, rioters have taken to the streets of Stockholm’s suburbs every night, torching cars, schools, stores, office buildings and residential complexes. Yesterday, a police station in Rågsved, a suburb four kilometers south of Stockholm, was attacked and set on fire.
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.
”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”
Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid, who asked Fria Tider’s photographer to destroy the photos he had taken. Her employer, the parking company P-service, refused to comment when Fria Tider contacted them on Wednesday afternoon.