The fear of riots reaches our neighborhood

I got this e-mail from the US Embassy the other day, just after I reassured my mother that we were far from any trouble.

On Sunday, May 19, more than 100 cars were set on fire by rioters in the northern Stockholm suburb of Husby in protest over a police shooting. Similar incidents occurred on the nights of May 20-23, spreading into other areas near Stockholm. Swedish police have made several arrests and consider the situation contained. However, due to the potential escalation of the riots, the U.S. Embassy cautions U.S. citizens to avoid the following areas during the next several evenings: Husby, Tensta, Kista, Rinkeby, Fittja, Jakobsberg, Solna-Hagalund, Sollentuna, Skogås, Hagsätra, Skarpnäck, Vårberg, Skärholmen, Jordbro, Fruängen, Salem, Farsta, Rågsved, Bredäng and Älvsjö.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. We recommend that U.S citizens avoid the areas where such demonstrations are occurring if possible, and, as always, exercise caution in the vicinity of any parades or protests. We also advise you to stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Included in the list of neighborhoods is the one just across the “big road” from us and where my daughter goes to school.  There have been no problems there at all, and we love the “immigrant school” in the neighborhood (the one where all the kids speak great Swedish because what else would they speak?  It’s too diverse).

I can’t decide whether to be offended that the US Embassy lumped every immigrant-dominated neighborhood together or acknowledge they are being realistic and that the US Embassy has not caused the social divisions and unrest in Sweden.

Then last night a preschool burned down in the other direction in a rich neighborhood, and even if it’s only an accident, which it seems to be, it’s got people jumpy.  But maybe it will also get their attention, just like the kids burning cars want, and deserve (because even if the kids are basically criminals, it takes a lot of neglect to produce a core of tough, drug-addicted young men to burn all those cars).

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