The association Skara United, which is topped by Sahlemariam Tesfai, decided to take action after the bus station was plagues by violent crime. A number of volunteers among the asylum-seekers have divided themselves into smaller groups in order to patrol the station area in the evenings.
"By keeping an eye on the area, we hope to help regain Skara's safety and security," said Sahlemariam as quoted by Skaraborgs Länstidning.
The initiative started last week, and Sahlemariam has already informed the municipality and the local police of their undertaking. During the evenings, the asylum-seekers are set to patrol the station area in orange vests in groups of up to five people patrol every night from 8 to 11PM. During their outings, the new vigilantes came in contact with both patrol officers and shopkeepers, who had earlier fell victim to robbery.
"Most people we met were positive. We are now a part of the city and we must help protect it too," said Diaa Alltabidi, a member of the vigilante patrol.
The new vigilantes had barely started out, when they already were lauded by the local police.
"Basically, it is only positive when local people get involved," said Oscar Svantesson of the Skara police force.
However, this initiative received nothing but criticism from the authorities, whereas the media did their utmost to brand the vigilantes as "racists" and "lawbreakers."
"This is not something we, the police, are going to encourage," police inspector Staffan Grenehammar of the Södermanland police told Eskilstuna Kuriren. "I believe that the patrols are going to create more chaos than order," he added.