Sweden should deploy military against gangs, says councilor from troubled city of Gothenburg

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Following the recent severe violence in the Gothenburg suburb of Hjällbo, Hampus Magnusson, a municipal councilor in Gothenburg, proposed it should be possible to deploy the military against criminal gangs. The motion, approved by the Moderates in western Sweden, will be considered in the autumn at the Moderates’ party meeting, Nyheter Idag reports.

“We have a police authority that is under enormous pressure and which, on many occasions, ends up at a disadvantage. So we thought that the military could support it in several tasks, in which it has relevant training, such as setting up roadblocks or searching vehicles,” said Hampus Magnusson to the Dagens Samhälle weekly.

Gothenburg has seen a dramatic increase in violence for a city that was once seen as peaceful and mostly crime free decades ago. Shootings and murders have increased, including high-profile murders.

Sweden’s top daily, Aftonbladet, writes, “For the past two years [in Gothenburg], murders, shootings and knife attacks have become an everyday occurrence.”

In Sweden overall, killings reached a record high in 2018 only to reach another record high in 2019. In 2019, a record number of people sought medical treatment for knife wounds.

In a May 2017, a survey conducted by Dagens Nyheter showed that of 100 suspects for murder and attempted murder using firearms, 90 percent of them had one parent born abroad.

Most of the gangs are made up of foreigners and Swedes with migration backgrounds, including clans, a fact confirmed by top police officials. This may be a factor why Sweden, known for its historically welcoming policy towards refugees, has soured on more migration, with polling showing that a majority of Swedes want to reduce migration in the country.

Can the military be deployed?

At present, the Swedish military may not be used in a manner “where there is a risk that it may use force or violence against individuals,” according to the Ordinance on the Armed Forces, something Magnusson wants to change.

“I strongly believe that there is a need for a change in legislation. What is happening in Sweden today, where the homes of individual police officers are shelled, and there are explosions at police stations, is the domestic terrorism of our time,” added Magnusson.

Magnusson’s proposal is also supported by the chairman of the municipal board in Gothenburg, Axel Josefson.

“This is a way to be able to help in times of the absolutely critical police shortage we have in Sweden as we want to return to a system, where you use emergency police to support the police in special events, and it should, of course, happen under the police leadership,” said Josefson to the Expressen daily.

Title image: In this photo provided by the Swedish Armed Forces on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, Ground forces patrol Gotland, Sweden. S (Bezhav Mahmoud//Swedish Armed Forces/TT via AP)

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