At a protest against recent shootings in Järva, activists blamed colonialism for the horrifying level of violence in the suburb and called politicians “dirt” and “Uncle Tom”.
“Suburb of Violence” was held over the weekend at Rinkeby Square where residents, along with artists and commentators, gathered to present MPs with a list of demands for action to solve the violence and social problems plaguing the migrant-dominated suburb.
The demonstration was called in response to rising violence in the area which has seen 22 murders in less than two years, three of which took place in recent weeks.
Kitimbwa Sabuni, from the ‘Afro Swedes Risk Association’, said “colonial logic” is to blame for unemployment, substance abuse, and violent crime in migrant communities living in Sweden.
“We came to Europe because European colonialism made it impossible for us to survive with dignity in our countries of origin. But the colonial logic followed us here. We were sent to the suburbs, which became the new colonies.”
Sabuni told activists that along with Black Lives Matter in the U.S., ethnic minorities in cities across Europe are mired in violence and unemployment because colonialism is still ongoing, and urged them to rise up against the oppressors.
Despite housing just 3.9 per cent of Stockholm’s population, Järva, which consists of the Rinkeby, Kista, Spånga, and Tensta districts, accounted for 40 per cent of all violent crime in the capital in the last year.
Spokesman for the group, Marcella De La Cerda, slammed what she perceives as inaction by Swedish authorities to prevent violence in Järva, but also called for a reduction in police presence, which she argues “increases the feeling of stigmatisation” in the suburbs.
She said: “If we had seen that 22 children had died in an area where white people live, the reactions [from the authorities] would have been completely different.”
However, De La Cerda said police patrols are counterproductive because they “signal to children and young people that society sees them as criminals who should be guarded”.
Instead, Suburb of Violence are calling for politicians to provide “jobs, housing and schools”, invest in more psychosocial workers and psychiatrists, and for gun laws to be made even more restrictive.
The demonstration has come under fire, however, after the “harsh tone” of some of the participants came to light.
A local police officer who attended the rally yesterday revealed that activists called politicians “dirt and devil’s minions”, and singled out two MPs with foreign backgrounds as being “Uncle Toms”.
Police officer and chairman of the district, Mia Päärni, said protesters’ language and tone was counterproductive, and risked putting people off politics.