JUNE 9 2010 15:04h

Riots rock Stockholm suburb




Up to 100 youths rioted for two straight nights in a heavily immigrant suburb of Stockholm, throwing bricks, setting fires and attacking the local police station, police said Wednesday.

- They set fire to a school building, they tried to set fire to the police station and other buildings and vehicles, but mostly they have thrown rocks and bricks at police and fire fighters - police spokesman Mats Eriksson told AFP.

He said no one had so far been injured in the riots in the Rinkeby suburb, known for having one of the highest concentrations of first- and second-generation immigrants in Sweden, began late Monday.

AFP-.--.-- The whole thing started when a group of young adults were not permitted to enter a junior high school dance. They got angry and started throwing rocks through the school windows - Eriksson said.

Up to 100 people went on a rampage, breaking 23 windows at the local police station and setting at least one car ablaze. Three people were arrested late Monday, but had since been released, Eriksson said, adding that "I would say things got worse" Tuesday night, when a school and four or five cars were set on fire.

- Fire fighters were there but they couldn't approach the blaze (at the school building, which was basically burned to the ground), because they were under attack - he said.

Eriksson said local police in the western part of Stockholm would receive reinforcements from across the capital to try to calm tensions in Rinkeby.

- This is an extremely serious situation and we must bring it to an end as soon as possible, otherwise it will keep getting worse. The riots were an attack on both the society as a whole and on the residents in the area - he said.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also cautioned that the riots needed to be brought quickly under control.

- The consequences risk becoming very serious and could affect the people living in Rinkeby - he told the TT news agency.

Education Minister Jan Bjoerklund and Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni visited the suburb around noon Wednesday to take stock of the situation.