After toying with the idea of a temporary curfew, as well as allowing anonymous witnesses and fast-track trials, maverick Sweden Democrats (SD) leader Jimmie Åkesson has proposed still tougher measures against gangland crime, such as using military personnel for quelling violent riots in Swedish suburbs. Although the two parties seldom find common ground, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of the ruling Social Democrats Party surprisingly echoed this proposal.
During a parliamentary debate, Jimmie Åkesson referred to the Danish example, where the military has been employed in assisting the police in the most violent suburbs. Åkesson also said it was about cracking down on crime and added he "did not rule out anything."
"It is a war against Swedish society, it is a war against Swedish authorities, it is a war against those who have built this society. And it is a war that we unfortunately are about to lose. We are about to lose control," Jimmie Åkesson said, sarcastically calling his country a "new, exciting, dynamic, multicultural paradise."
"This is not my first-hand action, but we need to see additional authorities collaborating to crack down on crime," Löfven told the Aftonbladet daily.
However, Löfven's stance received no support from party colleagues. Justice Minister Morgan Johansson argued that army support in the fight against gangland crime was not relevant, maintaining that the police's forces were sufficient.
Karin Wanngård, Stockholm City financial council, argued that armed soldiers on Swedish streets were "completely alien." Wanngård told national broadcaster SVT that fighting violence with violence was not a solution and recalled the Ådalen incident in 1931, when the military was used to quell a demonstration, killing five.
Jerzy Sarnecki, a professor of criminology and the country's leading expert on crime, argued that the deployment of military personnel into Swedish suburbs could mean a form of civil war no less.
"At best, soldiers are trained to wage war against a foreign force. This is about people in their own country. Bringing in the military would mean a form of civil war, which Sweden has never been close to," Sarnecki said, as quoted by the Nyheter Idag news portal.Katarina Janouch, who made national headlines last year after speaking about the rampant crime in Swedish ghettos on Czech TV.
"In the world's leading feminist/humanitarian superpower, it's important to think about women. Who in the suburbs does not dream of being saved by a muscular Rambo walking through the rising smoke and using his automatic weapon to clean up the riffraff. #Militarytoo, we burst out, breathless," Janouch wrote in a sarcastic opinion peace, venturing that Sweden's no-go zones someday will become "go-go zones again."
Following the public outcry, however, Löfven backtracked and clarified in a Facebook post that the armed forces should not take over the police's duties, but rather opt for an enhanced cooperation between the authorities.
"Under certain circumstances, however, the armed forces can provide support to the police and other civilian authorities," Löfven wrote on Facebook.