Rioters in a Stockholm suburb burned cars and hurled rocks at police Monday, two days after President Donald Trump made a baffling reference to immigrant violence in Sweden during a Florida rally.
The Washington Post reported that the violence occurred in Rinkeby, a largely immigrant enclave in northern Stockholm, with rioters clashing with police after news of an arrest near a train station drew a crowd:
Over four hours, the crowd burned about half a dozen cars, vandalized several shopfronts and threw rocks at police. Police spokesman Lars Bystrom confirmed to Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper that an officer had fired shots with intention to hit a rioter, but did not strike his target. A photographer for the newspaper was attacked by more than a dozen men and his camera was stolen, but no one was ultimately hurt or even arrested.
Trump stirred up confusion and mockery after remarking at a Saturday campaign event in Melbourne, Florida, "We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?"
Trump scored himself rebukes from Sweden's official Twitter handle and an expression of "surprise" from Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
— Sweden.se (@swedense) February 20, 2017
— Sweden.se (@swedense) February 19, 2017
Trump later said his remarks about Sweden were referring to a Fox News Channel segment Tucker Carlson hosted about rising violence in the nation — one that spurred Swedish police officers to say their remarks on the program regarding crime had been taken out of context.
My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2017
A day later, Trump was still on the subject, tweeting, "Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!"
Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017
Fox, Associated Press reports, said Tuesday that "Recent migration to Sweden hit its peak in 2015 with more than 160,000 asylum applications. It dropped to almost 30,000 in 2016."
The story also noted that a 60 Minutes crew came under attack in Rinkeby last April while filming a segment there.
Trump fans sounded notes of vindication at news of the Stockholm incident.
"Well, as usual Trump was right... Sweden is having terror problems they have been hiding," one said.
Well, as usual Trump was right...Sweden is having terror problems they have been hiding..
— Willy Mcclure (@McclureWilly) February 21, 2017
The New York Times pointed to official Swedish statistics showing "no significant increase in crimes from 2015 to 2016, even with the influx of migrants."
While rape and assault did increase last year, thefts and drug crimes were down. "Still, a Pew Research Center survey last year found that 46% of Swedes said refugees were more to blame for crime than other groups," the Times noted.