More than a week of nightly riots, spreading from Stockholm’s migrant suburbs across Sweden, has kept the media blazing for days. Looking back at the coverage, this was hardly journalism’s finest hour: overly smart and with barely disguised malice, fingers got quickly pointed at the ‘Nordic Welfare Myth’. A few contributions ventured further and did the unimaginable: talk to actual young people. Here’s a list of those articles.

How the media has covered the Stockholm Riots

Stockholm Riots – May 2013 – Media Coverage.

Other than in previous Youth in the News editions, this time we have sorted the articles chronologically. If you don’t have the time to crawl through the articles, or don’t feel like getting angry about the lack of quality and rigour in the reporting, here are the three best features on the ‘Stockholm Riots’ in our humble opinion:

  1. Sweden’s youth rioters demand attention, by Randi Häussler for Deutsche Welle. “A week of nightly riots has left Sweden reeling. But many young Swedes are screaming for attention – and they believe they’ve been more successful than they would have been with peaceful alternatives.”
    Link: http://www.dw.de/swedens-youth-rioters-demand-attention/a-16839442
  2. How my city went under, by Viggo Cavling for Presseurop. “Son of a Swede and a Dane, journalist Viggo Cavling grew up in one of the suburbs hit by the recent violence. He tells the story of how the buildings that carried the dreams of a progressive society have become ghettos without hope.”
    Link: http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/3829911-how-my-city-went-under
  3. The Swedish Riots: The Underclass Has Reacted, by Ritt Goldstein for Counterpunch. “The Swedish riots appear to have ended, but while most of the media fumbles about to understand what happened, the answers arguably seem to have been provided 12 March, over two months before the unrest began. At that time I interviewed Paul Lappalainen, a senior Swedish civil servant who had run the Government’s 2005 inquiry into ‘structural discrimination’. It was a most prescient moment when he said ‘I prefer not seeing riots’, but warned it ‘seems that policymakers are not trying to avoid the conditions within which riots occur.’”
    Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/the-swedish-riots/

We have organised our overview of the media coverage of the 2013 Stockholm Riots overview by publishing date:

  1. Articles published on May 20
  2. Articles published on May 21
  3. Articles published on May 22
  4. Articles published on May 23
  5. Articles published on May 24
  6. Articles published on May 25
  7. Articles published on May 26
  8. Articles published on May 27
  9. Articles published on May 28
  10. Articles published on May 29
  11. Articles published on May 30
  12. Articles published on May 31

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 20

Youths burn 100 cars in north Stockholm riots
Article by The Local | Published on: May 20, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48006/20130520/

Youths rioted in northern Stockholm on Sunday night, setting fire to cars and throwing rocks at police, in what is believed to be a protest against the fatal police shooting of a machete-wielding man in the suburb last week.

Rioting youths set fires, attack police, in Stockholm suburb, angered over police shooting
Article by Associated Press for the Washington Post | Published on: May 20, 2013
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/rioting-youths-set-fires-attack-police-in-stockholm-suburb-angered-over-police-shooting/

Gangs of youth angered by the police shooting death of an elderly man in a mainly immigrant neighborhood hurled rocks at police and set cars and buildings on fire in a Stockholm suburb early Monday, forcing the evacuation of an apartment block. Around 50 youths were involved in the riots in the suburb of Husby.

Riot police ‘resorted to racial slurs’ in Husby
Article by Oliver Gee for The Local | Published on: May 20, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48026/20130520/

Police officers on hand during the Husby riot in northern Stockholm stand accused of using racist language towards people on the ground, with one youth worker in the area claiming it is “not the last time” such scenes will occur.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 21

Fresh clashes as more cars burn in Husby
Article by The Local | Published on: May 21, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48028/20130521

Cars were engulfed in flames on Monday night and youths clashed with police in the north-western Stockholm district of Husby for a second night in a row.

Seven arrested over Stockholm’s Husby riots
Article by The Local | Published on: May 21, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48048/20130521

Seven people were arrested on Tuesday following the Husby riots in northern Stockholm, with Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt warning that the unrest may continue.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 22

Riots Erupt in Sweden: The Nordic Welfare Myth?
Article by Antonia Matthews for CNBC | Published on: May 22, 2013
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100757907

With growth rates above the European average and unemployment below EU levels, Sweden’s economy is often regarded as something of a beacon. News that the country’s capital has been hit by three nights of rioting similar to the public disorder seen in Paris and London in recent years has therefore come as a surprise.

Stockholm riots challenge image of happy, generous state
Article by Patrick Lannin and Philip O’Connor for Reuters | Published on: May 22, 2013
http://news.yahoo.com/stockholm-riots-challenge-image-happy-generous-state-234811107.html

Hundreds of youth have torched cars and attacked police in four nights of riots in immigrant suburbs of Sweden’s capital, shocking a country that dodged the worst of the financial crisis but failed to solve youth unemployment and resentment among asylum seekers.

Riots grip Stockholm suburbs after police shooting
Article by Nick Childs for BBC | Published on: May 22, 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22622909

Rioters have lit fires and stoned emergency services in the suburbs of Stockholm for the third night in a row after a man was shot dead by police. On Sunday night, more than 100 cars were set alight, Swedish media report. The founder of a local youth group told Swedish media the riots were a reaction to ‘police brutality.’

Stockholm riots raise questions about immigration policy
Article by Richard Milne for the Washington Post | Published on: May 22, 2013
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/stockholm-riots-raise-questions-about-immigration-policy/

The sight of burning cars in a dozen suburbs of Stockholm on Tuesday night has shocked Sweden and shaken its image of tolerance and equality. But the rioting is also raising a simple, devastating question: Is Sweden facing its own Paris or London moment when it is forced to confront long-simmering questions about the integration of immigrants?

Stockholm riots: a view from the street in Husby
Article by The Local | Published on: May 22, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48064/20130522/

Following three nights of violence that left cars smouldering in several Stockholm suburbs, The Local travelled to the north-western district of Husby where the disturbances began to see how the riots have affected local residents.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 23

Sweden riots revive immigration debate
Article by AFP for The Australian | Published on: May 21, 2013
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sweden-riots-revive-immigration-debate/

Rioting has spread across Stockholm immigrant districts in a third night of unrest, raising fears that decades of integration efforts have gone dangerously awry.

Rioting raises questions about Sweden’s liberal immigration policy and its inequality
Article by Associated Press for The Washington Post | Published on: May 23, 2013
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-05-23/world/39468768_1_sweden-s-stockholm-violence

Many people were shocked when scores of youths hurled rocks at police and set cars ablaze during rioting in several largely immigrant areas near Stockholm this week. For some, the real reason for the unrest is the high unemployment and isolation of youths in the southern and western Stockholm suburbs where the violence occurred — ones who see little future for themselves or access to Sweden’s prosperity.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 24

Schools burn on fifth night of Stockholm riots
Article by The Local | Published on: May 24, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48100/20130524/

At least two schools, a police station, and 15 cars were set ablaze in Stockholm on Thursday night as riots in the suburbs of the Swedish capital continued for the fifth straight night.

Sweden sends reinforcements to capital after fifth night of rioting
Article by Deutsche Welle | Published on: May 24, 2013
http://www.dw.de/sweden-sends-reinforcements-to-capital-after-fifth-night-of-rioting/a-16835451

Police in Stockholm have called in reinforcements amid fears that riots could enter a sixth night. Schools and cars have been set ablaze in the capital’s suburbs in five consecutive nights of violence. Police say the attacks don’t appear to be coordinated.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 25

Swedish riots spark surprise and anger
Article by Richard Orange for The Guardian | Published on: May 27, 2013
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/25/sweden-europe-news

As inequality and segregation start to rise, the spread of youth disorder has shaken ethnic Swedes and older immigrants alike. What began in Husby last Sunday has spread to more than a dozen of the city’s other suburbs.

Stockholm riots leave Sweden’s dreams of perfect society up in smoke
Article by Colin Freeman for The Telegraph | Published on: May 25, 2013
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/10080320/Stockholm-riots-leave-Swedens-dreams-of-perfect-society-up-in-smoke.html

A week of disturbances in Sweden’s capital has tested the Scandinavian nation’s reputation for tolerance. Last week, the Husby neighbourhood erupted into rioting, sparking some of the fiercest urban unrest that Sweden has seen in decades, and a new debate about the success of racial integration.

Sweden’s riots: Is the integration of immigrants failing?
Article by Charlemagne for The Economist | Published on: May 25, 2013
http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/05/swedens-riots

Hundreds of cars set on fire, a school in flames and angry youths hurling stones at the police. This is not the banlieue in France but suburbs in supposedly peaceful Sweden. Six nights of arson and violence in Stockholm’s poorer suburbs, where a majority of residents are immigrants, have shaken the Nordic country and created international headlines. Now the riots could make immigration and integration the pivotal debate in Swedish politics.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 26

Fire and fury in Sweden as riots spread
Article by Tom Peck for The Independent | Published on: May 26, 2013
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/fire-and-fury-in-sweden-as-riots-spread-8632374.html

Youths continue to fight police in Stockholm as unrest spreads to other cities. The pictures of injured officers and burning buildings in rich, peaceful, egalitarian Sweden have surprised a watching world, but many here feel that it shouldn’t have done. For years the country’s social workers, political scientists, rappers and rising number of right wing extremists have been telling the Tale of Two Stockholms, societies existing side by side in a divided, unintegrated city.

In Sweden, Riots Put an Identity in Question
Article by Andrew Higgins for the New York Times | Published on: May 26, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/world/europe/swedens-riots-put-its-identity-in-question.html

In Stockholm and other towns and cities last week, bands made up mostly of young immigrants set buildings and cars ablaze in a spasm of destructive rage rarely seen in a country proud of its normally tranquil, law-abiding ways. The disturbances have pushed Sweden to the center of a heated debate across Europe about immigration and the tensions it causes in a time of deep economic malaise.

Riots caused by ‘failed policy’
Article by Hu Qingyun for The Global Times | Published on: May 26, 2013
http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/784443.shtml

The week-long riots in Sweden that have spread from the capital Stockholm highlights the failure of the multicultural policy in some European countries, said experts, adding that this would probably bring changes in immigration rules.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 27

Swedish riots: if instability can happen here, what might unfold elsewhere?
Article by Aditya Chakrabortty for Comment is Free | Published on: May 27, 2013
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/27/swedish-riots-inequality-stockholm

You probably haven’t seen much about it in the papers, but for the past week Sweden has been racked by rioting. A stark rise in inequality has brought about unprecedented rioting in Stockholm.

Sweden punishes its rioters and its police very differently
Article by Jallow Momodou for Comment is Free | Published on: May 27, 2013
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/27/sweden-punishes-rioters-police-stockholm-riots

The Stockholm riots were inevitable given that Sweden is riven with injustice, not least in how it handles police brutality. Recent debates have exposed the brutal and illegal methods used by law enforcement agencies, mainly against non-white Swedes.

Riots put Sweden’s open-door immigration policy in spotlight
Article by Alistair Scrutton and Simon Johnson for Reuters | Published on: May 27, 2013
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/us-sweden-riots-idUSBRE94Q0E620130527

Sweden’s worst riots in years might benefit a far-right party in elections next year if scenes of immigrants burning cars and smashing up buildings cause voters to rethink their traditional welcome to foreigners.

Sweden’s youth rioters demand attention
Article by Randi Häussler for Deutsche Welle | Published on: May 27, 2013
http://www.dw.de/swedens-youth-rioters-demand-attention/a-16839442

A week of nightly riots has left Sweden reeling. But many young Swedes are screaming for attention – and they believe they’ve been more successful than they would have been with peaceful alternatives.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 28

Trouble in Paradise? What the Riots Mean for Sweden
Article by Tobias Hubinette for the Open Society Foundations | Published on: May 28, 2013
http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/trouble-paradise-what-riots-mean-sweden

Sweden has for decades prided itself on its reputation as the most progressive country in the world. However, Sweden recently also became the OECD country with the highest difference in unemployment between foreign-born and native-born residents. Its large- and mid-sized cities are characterized by probably the most extreme ethno-racial residential segregation pattern in the Western world.

What Sweden’s Riots Say About Europe’s Rising Social and Political Risks
Article by Daniel Wagner for The Huffington Post | Published on: May 28, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/what-swedens-riots-say-ab_b_3334501.html

The riots in Sweden last week are a manifestation of the socioeconomic disequilibrium pervading much of Europe, and the level of frustration that is beginning to boil over among European immigrants and youth.

What We Can Learn From Rioting in Sweden
Article by Megan McArdle for The Daily Beast | Published on: May 28, 2013
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/what-we-can-learn-from-rioting-in-sweden.html

For Sweden, riots represent a serious breakdown in civil order. And something of a public policy crisis. Sweden has a very welcoming immigration policy, and of course, an extremely generous welfare state. These things were supposed to protect Sweden, but if you get riots anyway, then something in Swedish policy may need a rethink.

Stockholm’s Riots Reveal The Illusion Of Sweden’s Tolerance Model
Article by Magda Fahsi for The Mint Press | Published on: May 28, 2013
http://www.mintpressnews.com/stockholms-riots-reveal-the-illusion-of-swedens-tolerance-model/

Last week, young people in several Stockholm suburbs rioted for six consecutive nights, throwing stones, breaking windows, torching cars, clashing with police and setting buildings ablaze, in Sweden’s worst scenes of disorder in years. Youth from these predominantly immigrant suburbs are very, very angry.

What’s behind Sweden’s youth riots?
Article by Nathalie Rothschild for The Christian Science Monitor | Published on: May 28, 2013
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/0528/What-s-behind-Sweden-s-youth-riots-video

Six days of rioting across Sweden last week have laid bare the social isolation growing in some of Stockholm’s suburbs. But Swedes are divided over the root cause, with some insisting they are a result of failed integration of immigrants and others pointing to socio-economic marginalization.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 29

Swedish riots could represent Europe’s future
Article by Bob Taylor for the Washington Times | Published on: May 29, 2013
http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/what-world/2013/may/29/swedish-riots-could-represent-europes-future/

After more than a week of rioting, Sweden’s grand experiment in multiculturalism is providing a window into what the rest of Europe could expect if current immigration policies continue. Sadly, the violence in Stockholm may be an indication that the point of no return has been reached.

Failing integration policies sets Stockholm suburbs in flames
Article by Jessica Säll for The Foreign Report | Published on: May 29, 2013
http://www.theforeignreport.com/2013/05/29/sweden-failing-integration-policies-sets-stockholm-suburbs-in-flames/

Whilst the rioting and violence in Stockholm may have subsided in recent days, burnt out cars on the city streets suggest there is a deep issue behind the unrest. The cause of such scenes stems from social exclusion, which has become a state of everyday life for the people living in segregated and less resourceful areas such as Husby.

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 30

Minister warns Husby unrest may fuel prejudice
Article by The Local | Published on: May 30, 2013
http://www.thelocal.se/48238/20130530/

Sweden’s Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag warned on Thursday that the unrest in Stockholm’s outer suburbs last week may lead to prejudices about the people who live there.

Unrest in Stockholm
Article by Atle Hetland for The Pakistan Nation | Published on: May 30, 2013
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/columns/30-May-2013/unrest-in-stockholm

When I listened to a journalist from the BBC World reporting about the riots in Stockholm last week, I noticed a slightly malicious tone in his voice. It was as if he wanted to say: “There you see; you clever Scandinavians were not better than the rest of us after all.”

ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON MAY 31

How my city went under
Article by Viggo Cavling for Presseurop.eu | Published on: May 31, 2013
http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/3829911-how-my-city-went-under

Son of a Swede and a Dane, journalist Viggo Cavling grew up in one of the suburbs hit by the recent violence. He tells the story of how the buildings that carried the dreams of a progressive society have become ghettos without hope.

Racist Europe: the root cause
Article by Nathan Akehurst for The Oxford Student | Published on: May 31, 2013
http://oxfordstudent.com/2013/05/31/racist-europe-the-root-cause/

Sweden is often held up as an archetypal Scandinavian utopia. And yet now, there is trouble in paradise – five days of bitter rioting in suburban Stockholm in a set-piece of civil unrest. When and how did we get to this point?

Far-right party seeks to capitalise on riots in Sweden
Article by Richard Milne for the Financial Times | Published on: May 31, 2013
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/34edf422-ca04-11e2-8f55-00144feab7de.html

Sweden is trying desperately to put last week’s riots in Stockholm behind it, and in the past week the capital has remained relatively quiet. But the questions raised by the unrest in the wealthy Nordic country have refused to go away.

The Swedish Riots: The Underclass Has Reacted
Article by Ritt Goldstein for The Counter Punch | Published on: May 31, 2013
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/the-swedish-riots/

While most of the media fumbles about to understand what happened, the answers arguably seem to have been provided 12 March, over two months before the unrest began. At that time I interviewed Paul Lappalainen, a senior Swedish civil servant who had run the Government’s 2005 inquiry into ‘structural discrimination’. It was a most prescient moment when he said “I prefer not seeing riots”, but warned it “seems that policymakers are not trying to avoid the conditions within which riots occur.”


Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia

Written by Youthpolicy Team

Youthpolicy Team

At youthpolicy.org, we are building a global evidence-base for youth policy. We are published by Youth Policy Press, a global publishing house on youth issues. We generate and consolidate knowledge and information on youth policies; critically report from and about global youth events; and more. Email us at curious@youthpolicy.org.