Tension against refugees is mounting in Europe, and violent, xenophobic episodes targeting asylum seekers are becoming more common. The latest, in Stockholm, Sweden, is particularly brutal: Around 9pm on Jan. 29, a mob of dozens of masked men marched through the city’s central station, distributing leaflets promising to give “the North African street children who are roaming around the punishment they deserve.”
Footage shows the men running through the station, and according to witnesses, at least three refugees were beaten up. The action, carried out by what seems to be groups of hooligans, found the approval of Sweden’s neo-Nazi party, which declared the areas around the station to be “cleaned up” of “criminal immigrants from North Africa.” The following morning, on Jan. 30, the country’s Democratic party, which holds anti-immigration positions, demanded that the government resign for its immigration politics.
According to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet (link in Swedish), a witness reported seeing several masked men attacking foreign-looking people also at Sergel Square, in the vicinity of the station. The police said they found about 70 masked people upon their arrival in the station.
This violent action is the worst so far to have followed the death of Alexandra Mezher, a 22-year-old aid worker who was stabbed to death by a teenage refugee in a shelter for minors on Jan. 25.
On Jan. 31, a shocking video emerged proving that the situation in Sweden’s asylum homes is on edge: in the video, an aid worker is heard screaming at some of the children in the video, shouting at them “you are fucking pig everyone, fucking pigs.” He then verbally attacks one of the refugees who then gets to the floor crying.
There are currently an estimated 38,000 unaccompanied migrant youth in Sweden, and the number of houses for minors provided by Sweden’s health and social care inspectorate is over 1,100—10 times bigger than it was in 2010.