Published February 21, 2017
Riots erupted in a heavily immigrant Stockholm suburb Monday night, as masked looters set cars ablaze and threw rocks at cops, injuring one police officer, Swedish officials said.
The violence in Rinkeby began around 8 p.m., when officers arrested a suspect at an underground station on drug charges, The Local reported. A group soon gathered, hurling rocks and other objects at officers and prompting one cop to fire his gun “in a situation that demanded he use his firearm,” police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.
“But nobody has been found injured at the scene and we have checked the hospitals and there hasn’t been anyone with what could be gunshot wounds,” Bystrom added.
It came just days after President Trump was mocked during a Saturday campaign rally for mentioning Sweden alongside a list of European targets of terror. Trump later said his “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” remark was in response to a Fox News report on the country’s refugee crime crisis that aired on Friday evening.
“Sweden. They took in large numbers [of refugees],” Trump added at the Florida rally. “They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Sweden’s official Twitter account – which is operated by a different user each week – tweeted at Trump on Monday morning: “Hey Don, this is @Sweden speaking! It’s nice of you to care, really, but don’t fall for the hype. Facts: We’re OK!”
Hours later, the Rinkeby riots began, with a second wave starting around 10:30 p.m. Seven or eight cars were set on fire and many stores saw looting, The Local reported. A photographer from media outlet Dagens Nyheter said a group of 15 people beat him as he tried to document the chaos.
“I was hit with a lot of punches and kicks both to my body and my head. I have spent the night in hospital,” said the photographer, who was not named.
The rioting ended just after midnight.
No arrests were made; however, reports were filed on three violent acts, violence against a police officer, two assaults, vandalism and aggravated thefts, authorities said.
Rinkeby is the same area where an Australian "60 Minutes" crew was attacked by a group of men in April 2016. The film crew was attempting to enter a so-called “no go zone,” which authorities deny they use as a label. Rinkeby, however, has been officially classified as one of 15 “particularly vulnerable” areas across Sweden.
The country's prime minister, Stefan Lofven, said Monday, "Yes, we have challenges like all other countries. There's no doubt. We have a situation in the world where 65 million people had to flee their countries last year, the year before that. 65 million. So that's a war for us together." He also said Sweden was investing more in housing, technology and its welfare system.
Reports of rapes in Sweden jumped 13 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, and reports of sexual assaults were up 20 percent, according to preliminary data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
Recent migration to Sweden hit its peak in 2015 with more than 160,000 asylum applications. It dropped to almost 30,000 in 2016.
Fox News' Maria Karlsson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.