Western Sweden shaken as vandals set around 100 cars ablaze Monday

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-14 19:18:59|Editor: zh
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STOCKHOLM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Around 100 cars were burned in different parts of western Sweden on Monday evening in what police said may be a coordinated act of vandalism.

The first fires started at around 21:00 (1900 GMT) in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, where gangs of hooded and masked vandals torched cars in parking lots. In the town of Trollhattan, they set fire to cars, tires and pallet boxes, and around 23:00 (2100 GMT) more cars were set ablaze in the region, including in the towns of Lysekil and Falkenberg.

Reacting to the events, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Radio Sweden on Tuesday, "This makes me really mad." Lofven said the events seemed coordinated and resembled "a military operation."

"So many (fires) in a single evening and in such a short space of time and in so many places -- I don't know if we've seen that before," Ulla Brehm, a police spokesperson, told Sveriges Television.

In Trollhattan, fire brigade personnel had to call in the police as the attacks continued while they were trying to put out the flames. A gang of around 30 to 40 youths then pelted police with stones, Swedish media reported.

Police Inspector Claes Dahlstrom said the attackers were masked and wore hoodies or caps and would not be easy to identify.

Several local residents caught the arson and violence on their camera and the videos spread on social media.

"I saw between eight and 10 black-clad, masked men come running with baseball bats," one witness told Sveriges Television. "They crashed car windows, poured petrol from cans and threw bangers. It all seemed so coordinated."

Police said Tuesday that no one was injured during Monday evening's events, but around 100 car owners have been affected, Radio Sweden reported.

They said they would like to hear from more witnesses and speak to parents whose children came home on Monday night with clothes smelling of petrol.

As of Tuesday morning, there had been no arrests but the spokesperson told Radio Sweden that several suspects have been identified. They are locals and are known to police. Many are under 18, she said.