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The Minister of Justice's criticism after the riot in an Eritrean festival at Järvafältet in Stockholm: "Not reasonable"

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 03 August 2023

Gunnar Strömmer about the riot in Järva

The Minister of Justice's criticism after the riot in Järva: "Not reasonable"

Several seriously injured after the riot • Hundreds deprived of liberty

UPDATED:TODAY 18:08  PUBLISHED:TODAY 14:01

On Thursday afternoon, a riot broke out in connection with an Eritrean festival at Järvafältet in Stockholm, where a large group of protesters had gone.
Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer (M) on the incident:

- The police's resources are needed for other purposes than keeping different groups apart from each other.

Turmoil and violent rioting broke out on Järvafältet on Thursday afternoon in connection with an Eritrean festival. The police are on the scene with a large resource and, among other things, several tents and cars have been set on fire in the area.

- There has been an expression of opinion near the festival area and it is in connection with it that a violent riot has started, says Towe Hägg.

Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer (M) reacts strongly to the riot.

"It is not reasonable for Sweden to be drawn into other countries' domestic conflicts in this way. If you flee to Sweden to escape violence, or are on a temporary visit, you must not cause violence here. The police's resources are needed for other purposes than keeping different groups apart from each other," he says in a written comment.

Hundreds of arrests

According to Region Stockholm, which went into staff mode after the incident, seven people have been injured, four of them seriously. For the other three, the injury situation is described as mild.

- It is a complicated and extensive effort. There are many people in motion at the scene and the total damage status is still unclear, says Patrik Söderberg, chief physician, Region Stockholm.

In addition, the police state that hundreds of people have been detained and that they are opening a preliminary investigation into violent riot, arson and serious blue light sabotage.

Many have fled the field

Kristin Stein, TV4 Nyheternas reporter who was there, tells about the chaos.

- We have seen people who have been beaten and how police have blocked off one lane which is right next to the festival area. We see a big cloud of smoke, it seems to be burning in this festival area. We have seen people running across the road and fleeing the field, she says.

- It is a very anxious and chaotic atmosphere.

Jabbe Osman, 27, who lives in the area witnessed the riot.

- I've seen fights, people with knives and all kinds of things, it's actually tragic. All of us who live here are afraid, he tells TV4 Nyheterna and continues:

- I woke up to this sound and it has been going on for an hour. It is life-threatening.

Criticism of the festival

The festival Eritrea Scandinavia is an Eritrean cultural festival. It has been organized in Stockholm since the 1990s and has previously been criticized for being loyal to the regime. Last year, the festival was supposed to take place, but Järva Folkets park canceled the contract shortly before the opening, as DN reported at the time .

- I have seen with my own eyes how protesters have thrown objects, bottles among other things, at the cars that drive by here, says Kristin Stein, who states that the situation at the site is somewhat calmer shortly before 3 p.m.

- It seems that many people have been evicted from the festival area and the police seem to have the situation reasonably under control. Some parts of the road are still blocked off. But it is much calmer now than when we arrived at the scene, she says.
Police stand near the gutted remains of cars, at the Eritrean cultural festival Eritrea Scandinavia in Stockholm Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (Magnus Lejhall/TT News Agency via AP)Police stand near the gutted remains of cars, at the Eritrean cultural festival "Eritrea Scandinavia" in Stockholm Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (Magnus Lejhall/TT News Agency via AP)


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