Swedish police have insisted a “riot” outside a bar is “not news worthy” after it was reported that migrants were involved. The local paper has allegedly “censored” their initial coverage and a witness has called for details not to be “with[held] from the public”.
“For me it was a riot; there is no better name. I have worked as a security guard here in Kalmar for 30 years and I have never seen anything like it. We had to pull our batons and call for backup from the police right away”, Anders Hedlund, a security guard at O’Learys bar in Larmtorget told Barometern.
Police have confirmed that there was an altercation involving 15-20 people on Sunday night, which resulted in several men in custody and one being arrested for assaulting a police officer.
However, the next day, Joakim Andren, an officer in the local force, said that the police objected to the initial report. “The mood was upset and there were intoxicated people, but not a direct fight. Therefore it was considered that the news value was not calling”, he told Barometern.
Now, Fria Tider, a right wing Swedish news source has claimed that Barometern retrospectively “censored” their initial report of the incident, editing out any reference to the alleged ethnicity of the assailants. Specifically, they say that a quote in which a security guard was talking about “racism” disappeared from the article.
“We need to be talking about what’s happening. It’s not about racism, but I as an experienced guard find it difficult to sleep at night after work, it’s become so tough,” allegedly read the disappearing quotation.
A different local news source, 24kalmar, retains a reference to the “foreign origin” of those involved in the fight.
Responding the Police’s insistence that the incident in not news worthy, one of the security guards involved told 24kalmar that relevant details should not be hidden from the public.
“Living in a democracy, we should not hold on to some dark things to protect certain groups in society”, he said, “Where you come from does not matter, it’s people who behaves badly. But to behave like a pig, do not withhold it from the public”.
Just last month it was reported that Swedish police had been ordered not to release descriptions of criminal and suspect that include reference to their race or nationality to avoid being branded racist. Descriptive information including “height, skin colour, nationality and race, etc” must not be mentioned, police were order in a memo.
“The police are sometimes criticised for reporting on peoples’ skin colour. We are perceived as racist. As the police are not racist, nor should be perceived as such, from now on, please apply these instructions”, it read.
The memo was issued just weeks after the sexual assault of dozens of underage girls by migrants at music festival began to be uncovered – years after the incidents allegedly took place. Police and local media were accused of covering up the crimes and heavily criticised.