Malmö: "They don't respect Muslims"
About 150 activists showed up Saturday night for a street party in Rosengård, to protest the police presence and demand various rights. The activists claimed that they had support from the residents and that therefore it would not be a problem that this was the first night of Ramadan. The residents, however, seemed to think differently and chased them out.
For the past few months, since there were riots in the area, with heavy involvement by Leftist activists, the police have been keeping a presence in the area round the clock. The roundabout next to the gas station serves as a base for the police's increased presence.
Preparing for the street party, the police were assigned extra forces, and the Malmö municipality hoped to attract the youth by keeping youth centers open and organizing a football tournament.
In June the group in question also organized a party in the Västra hamnen area of Malmö in June, to protest segregation and residence issues. (SVT 1, 2)
While many families celebrated the beginning of the Ramadan fast, police and demonstrations met in violent confrontations. Stones and firecrackers were thrown around.
"They don't respect Muslims. They don't take into account this is the month that is the month of peace," says Ahmad el Mohamad of Herrgården [area in the district of Rosengård, Malmö].
Under the slogans "Cops out of Herrgården", "reduced rent and complete renovation of all dilapidated buildings" and "self-government and free youth centers" the "Reclaim Rosengård" group organized a street party Saturday night.
The protest started at 8pm when the group started gathering at the roundabout next to the Shell station on Ramels väg. The gas station is normally open till midnight, but due to the expected disturbances they closed already at 5pm.
Twenty minutes after the party stated, a fight broke out on the roundabout. Several people came in a red mini-van and tried to tear down the banners. Many Rosengård resident protested loudly against the loudspeaker van and the atmosphere got tense.
The participants of "Reclaim Rosengård" were then driven away from the roundabout by an irritated crowd, including members of the new Rosengård gang "Lion's Family", while members of the Black Cobra gang appeared on the activists side. The activists were forced to flee to the McDonald's.
One of the 'counter-demonstrators' told Sydsvensakn that already earlier in the day they'd decided to go against the participants of "Reclaim Rosengård".
"They come here and cause problems and we do not want them here. It's just a lot of violence that gives Rosengård a bad reputation. They can have their parties at home in Limhamn [upscale Malmö neighborhood]", says Mohammed Aburid and wonders why the "Reclaim" participants were masked.
His friend Ali Finjan agreed.
"They just want to vandalize and destroy. I hope they never come here again. We want to have quiet here and we are glad the police are here," he said.
In an apartment on Ramels väg several hundred meters away the Mohamad-Hussein family prepares to break the fast.
Ahmad el Mohamad waits for the lamb skewers on the grill to be ready. He reacts to the fact that the yard outside is quiet.
"In most cases lots of children use it outside to play. Now it's completely empty. I think that many warned them and said that nobody should be outside."
Up from the balcony we see how a police helicopter circles about in the sky. Ahmad el Mohamad says that he's glad that Ramadan started and he thinks of how he'll soon lay the table nicely. But he's concerned that he'll soon have to go to work.
"It's not good. My wife won't dare be alone at home. I hope her brother comes here soon."
His wife, Rukia Hussein, is in the kitchen, preparing dinner.
Neither she nor her husband have trouble understanding who's behind the street party and what's their goal. She doesn't buy the organizer's reasoning that they have support among the residents here.
"No, we're against it."
At about 8:30 the family sits down to eat. At the same time music pounds from the gas station. The police buses can be seen everywhere. Police horses pass outside the window.
"Horses, horses," calls out 6-year old daughter Youmna el Mohamad.
Her father Ahmad el Mohamad shakes his head and says this absolutely doesn't go together with Ramadan. "It just gives a negative image of our district."
The December riots are repeated.
Shortly before 10 PM, some of the Reclaim activist suddenly throw bottles and firecrackers at the police. Some of the objects hit the police vehicles. The police put on their helmets and took positions behind their cars. The atmosphere was tense.
And so it continued into the night.
Source: Sydsvenskan (Swedish)
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