Despite initial reluctance, the Swedish authorities have started to associate the uptick in violent crime and gang shootouts with immigration, especially following an acknowledgement of integration problems by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven last year.
Following the recent spate of severe violence in the blighted Gothenburg suburb of Hjällbo, which has been described as gangland infighting and clan wars, the liberal-conservative Moderates, Sweden’s largest opposition party have suggested deploying the military to stop the local conflict amid an understaffed and underfunded police force.
Gothenburg municipal councillor Hampus Magnusson cited a decision to allow military intervention against gang crime recently adopted by the party in Western Sweden, which is soon to be discussed at a national meeting.
At present, the Swedish military may not be used in a manner that involves “a risk that it may use force or violence against individuals”, according to the Ordinance on the Armed Forces’ support for civilian activities, something the Moderates, currently polling as Sweden’s largest opposition party, seek to change.
The last time military reinforcements were used in a civil context in Sweden ended dramatically, during the so-called Ådalen shootings in 1931, when five people were killed during a workers’ strike in the sawmill district.
Magnusson said that while he had “great respect” for the Ådalen victims, the Sweden of today is…