Riot police have been sent to the city of Malmo to deal with riots which have rocked the southern Swedish town over the past two nights. The immigrant center of the city were the scene of riots after police removed some squatters from a building that had housed an Islamic Center which Muslims refused to evacuate after the landlord refused to renew a lease. Ahmed Baccar, a 20 year old unemployed Palestinian, commented the police “think they can appease us by joking with us, but they hassle us all the time, they arrest us for nothing, and then they are surprised that we fight back.” The fighting back involved torching cars and throwing Molotov cocktails at the police and sending garbage cans flying from exploded fire crackers.
As in every riot involving young people, frustrations, real or imagined, are on the lips of disaffected young boys. The lives of immigrants in virtually every nation reveals similar patterns of oppression and anger– adjusting to a new society in which one struggles to learn customs as well as language. Economic events caused by the American financial fiasco are impacting nations throughout the world and recent newcomers are probably the initial ones who are suffering an economic decline.
I am the child of immigrants and in my New York City neighborhood the enemy was always the police who we believed oppressed us and hassled us in every day life.