Following the revelation that German police suppressed the news of migrant sex assaults on New Year’s Eve for up to a week, it has now been revealed that Swedish police suppressed similar news for several years.
Police initially reported that the festival attended by 850,000 12 to 17-year-olds in August 2015 passed with “relatively few crimes”. In reality, reports Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, problems arose as soon as the first day’s concerts began with gangs molesting girls in the audience.
A memo sent to police chiefs and the Stockholm police media centre at the festival suggested the migrant sex crime problem was, in fact, a recurring one from previous years. Police now admit they should have shared this information.
The perpetrators of the sexual assaults and thefts were predominantly “young foreign men who come to Sweden without their parents”. An internal police memo stated that the young men concerned primarily came from Afghanistan.
One young attendee was 16-years-old when she attended the festival in 2014. She told Aftonbladet it was the worst concert she had ever experienced. She described an “unpleasant mood” and feeling of powerlessness. She did say that although some of the attackers were Swedish, most of them had different ethnic backgrounds.
She now says she has a fear of being in public places, especially among men, and turned down an invitation to return to the festival in 2015.
According to Stockholm police press officer Wolf Gyllander, failure to inform the public appeared “completely unacceptable”. He added that the police were obviously aware of the problem of migrant sex crime at the festival for some time, but had “failed to communicate it”.
Mr. Gyllander claimed there may have been “legitimate reasons” that he is not aware of for why police chose not to share the information, and he pledged to investigate.
The chief of police of Södermalm and former commanding director at the festival, Peter Agren, reportedly suggested there were political reasons for the silence, because some thought the news would play into the hands of the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats party.
Prime Minister Stephen Löfven has described the matter as a “betrayal” against young women, adding:
“I am very angry that young women should not be able to go to the music festival without being offended , sexually harassed and attacked. This is a very big problem for those affected and for the whole of our country. We will not budge an inch, and we should not look away.”