But 2 remain on remand
We got the following news from Stockholm ABC on 13 November: Yesterday, eight of Fittja 10 were released and met with a spontaneous party. We’re glad they’re out again, while continuing to organize the solidarity work for the two who remain incarcerated.
During the preliminary statutory hearing held today, the restrictions for the two were lifted and one of the charges (preparing an arson) dropped for one of them.
Here is the original callout from Stockholm ABC on 6 November: Ten people charged with preparing an arson and one with rioting, as well. Three nights before, unrest broke out after a police intervention at a youth center. They need our support!
During the last year, riots and arsons have spread through urban areas in Sweden. Youth in poorer communities have started fires and attacked firefighters and cops on arrival. The unrest is clearly linked to a discontent with the situation they face; the segregated cities, the poor living conditions in their areas, the discrimination they face in mainstream society. Wherever they go they carry their areas’ reputation with them.
But the answer politicians come up with is always the same — heavy policing and maybe, maybe some social programs to keep youth busy and off the streets.
In Fittja, an underprivileged community in the outskirts of Stockholm, unrest and riots broke out and went on for some nights after a police intervention at a youth center on Sunday 25th October. The Tuesday after, one person was arrested and the following day riot police raided the apartment the person shares with others in Fittja, arresting another nine people. The following weekend they were all detained, charged with preparing an arson and one also for rioting.
Police and media from the beginning claimed that the arrested were “known members of Antifascist Action” who had traveled to Fittja after the unrest began. The ten are described as “criminal adults” and “troublemakers from the outside” and depicted as the ones responsible for the riots and the damages in the area.
Repeatedly parallels are drawn to the riots in Rosengård in Malmö last winter, following the eviction of a center run by various neighborhood initiatives. Some people came there to get help with their homework, others came there to pray. Now, the company owning the building said the center was to be replaced with a school to teach the residents how to live in an apartment(!). For a while, the center was squated by youth from the area. When they got evicted, anger and frustration mounted. Activists living close by, joined them to show their solidarity with the evicted youth, like they had before with autonomous social centers like the Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen.
And indeed the picture drawn up by the media then shows many similarities to the one that is displayed today, the one of autonomous activists from outside the area causing unrest and destruction in an already vulnerable area. It’s simple media logic — a scenario with easily identifiable scape goats makes for a good story. Reality doesn’t have much to do with it, it’s more of a backdrop to the story. However, the people behind the headlines are real and they need our support.
You can write letters of support to them. A letter means a lot to someone incarcerated, it punctures the isolation of the detainees. You can send letters through ABC, Box 4081, 102 62 Stockholm and we’ll hand them on or send messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that everything will be read by the prosecutor.
And if you’re in Stockholm, you can donate books, magazines, clothes and CDs at Kafé 44 (Tjärhovsgatan 46, T-Medborgarplatsen) and we’ll forward it to the detainees. In that case, remember not to write anything in the books, since a dedication in a book can result in the person not being handed it.