During a presidential rally on Feb. 18 in Florida, President Donald Trump insinuated chaos, even terror, in Sweden. While the comments were initially met with confusion and mockery, two nights later, on Feb. 20, violent riots erupted in Stockholm, Sweden.
“You look at what's happening last night in Sweden,” Trump initially stated, notes the Los Angeles Times. “Sweden. They took in large numbers [of refugees]. They're having problems like they never thought possible.”
"Sweden? Terror attack?" Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden tweeted in response to Trump's comments. "What has he been smoking? Questions abound."
There are “people whose political agenda suggests they would like to tell the story of countries not being able to receive that many refugees, who seem to want to exaggerate problems,” Henrik Selin, director of intercultural dialogue at the Swedish Institute, said, a day before Trump's comments, reports The Washington Post.
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Selin then clarified, “Sweden, definitely, like other countries, [faces] challenges when it comes to integration of immigrants into Swedish society, with lower levels of employment, tendencies of exclusion and also crime-related problems."
Around 8 p.m. on Feb. 20, police officers arrested a wanted drug dealer at the Rinkeby subway station in Stockholm, according to the Daily Mail. The surrounding neighborhood has a high immigrant population. The unrest then quickly broke out.
"It happened in connection with an intervention near the metro station, the officers were to detain a person, our colleagues got stones thrown at them," Eva Nilsson, a regional police commander, told Aftonbladet, adds the Daily Mail.
Around eight cars were burned, rioters threw rocks at police and some storefronts were vandalized. A photographer was reportedly beaten and had his camera stolen. One police officer was slightly injured in the unrest.
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"We will make sure to reestablish law and order," Lars Bystrom, a spokesman for the Stockholm police, noted.
Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman concluded, "they have expanded their presence in our suburbs and it has led to more interventions, it can also risk getting a bit messy, but in the end it leads to greater security for the residents."