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Festival Eritrea at Järvafältet stormed - stone throwing and violence

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 03 August 2023

Festival Eritrea at Järvafältet stormed - stone throwing and violence

STOCKHOLMPublished 3 Aug 2023 at 1:45 p.m

Foto: Zana Schiroy, Sveriges radio.

Violent fights have broken out at a loyalist Eritrean festival at Järvafältet in Stockholm. 

A fairground on the festival grounds where there were families with children was quickly stormed and demolished by the giant group of counter-protesters, who use sticks and tent poles as weapons against the police. 

Expressen's reporter on the spot likens the view to "a war zone".

Around 1,000 counter-protesters who are against the regime-loyal festival are at the site on Thursday afternoon, according to Expressen's reporter on the spot. The demonstrators have broken the police cordons against the festival, which is organized by Eritreans loyal to the regime, and are now throwing stones at the site.

People in the group have resorted to sticks as weapons and even tent pegs from demolished tents at the site are now used as props, according to Expressen's reporter on the spot.

A fairground on the festival grounds where several families with children are located has been stormed by counter-demonstrators, and smoke is coming from several of the festival tents.

The police task force has also now been alerted to the scene.

Risk of explosion

There is a risk of explosion because there are gas cylinders in several tents, according to the police on site. According to Expressen's reporter on the spot, there are now explosions from several of the tents.

- We are on site and will put out the fire. It's a tent that's on fire, says a press spokesperson at Greater Stockholm's rescue centre.

However, he has no information that there is LPG in the tent.

At least one person injured and police officers injured

Fences at the site have been torn down and tents have been smashed in the chaos. Both demonstrators and police have been injured in the riot, reports TV4. Both the ambulance helicopter and the police helicopter are now in the air above the scene. According to information from the scene, there is fire from several tents and also in a truck at the scene, smoke is rising in several directions and the rescue service has joined the police force. It is now also burning in the buildings that belong to Järvabadet.

- It looks like a war zone, Expressen's reporter on the spot describes the sight as.

Traffic on the highway past the scene has been stopped in the commotion and several people are said to have fled the commotion up the highway.

Expressen's reporter who is at the scene describes the situation as "total chaos". The pictures show how the police are severely understaffed compared to the counter-demonstrators who were able to quickly storm the festival area.

The police have tried to establish a wall between the festival area and the aggressive protesters, who have, however, been subjected to new storming attempts with batons.

- We are on site at Eggeby farm where people have chosen not to follow the instructions that exist and have been given by the police. I cannot tell you anything other than that we are on site and working and it is a priority to stop criminal acts, says Towe Hägg, press spokesperson at the Stockholm Police.

The area is being evacuated now, according to information from the scene.

Unrest at similar events in the past

Eritreans loyal to the regime have previously held events in Stockholm where unrest has broken out. As recently as last year, a party was arranged in Husby where a hundred people were taken into custody by the police during the riot that arose.

ERi-TV, Eritrea - ጸብጻብ ዑደት ፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ ኣብ ዋዕላ ደቡብ ኮርያ አፍሪቃ | Reportage on President Isaias Afwerki's visit to South Korea for the South Korea-Africa Summit, held from June 3-4

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