Swedish leader voices anger after dozens of cars are burned

Firemen extinguish a burning car in the suburb of Rinkeby after youths rioted in several different

Firemen extinguish a burning car in the suburb of Rinkeby after youths rioted in several different

Most of the cars were burned at around 20 locations in Sweden's second largest city of Gothenburg late Monday.

"They were organised and prepared", Brehm said, according to Reuters. There were no reports of injuries.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Swedish radio that the fires appeared to be "very organised, nearly like a military operation".

"I'm furious. My question to (the perpetrators) is: what the hell are you doing?"

"It seems very organised, nearly like a military operation", Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in an interview on Swedish radio, but did not say who might have organised the violence.

Police did not say what might have spurred the violence, confirming only that gangs of youths were involved but did not say how many people.

Law and order is a key issue ahead of the general election on September 9 after a spike in gang violence in Sweden saw more than 40 people shot dead past year. "It's mainly vehicles that have burned - cars, some truck, caravans - but also some buried waste disposal site", Johan Eklund, emergency control room officer in the greater Gothenburg area, told Swedish news agency TT shortly after midnight.

"Society is always going to react strongly to this kind of thing", he said. A election stall in Linkoping of the far-right Sweden Democrats was also set alight.

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But when it comes to intentionally setting fire to cars, said Manne Gerell, a lecturer in criminology at Malmo University, such incidents have increased "big-time" over the past couple decades - but not in the past two or so years.

Cars set ablaze is common in Sweden. The violence echoed rioting by hundreds of youths in Stockholm and some of its poorer suburbs in 2013, sparked by the police killing of a 69-year-old man wielding a machete in a suburb that prompted accusations of police brutality. For days, rioters burned cars and buildings, including at least one school.

However, southern police spokesperson Fredrik Bratt believes that fires in the area are not linked to the ones in Gothenburg, calling them "not completely out of the ordinary".

For now, what seems to be missing in this week's case is a clear motive.

"Honestly we do not know whether this has something to do with it", Fuxborg said.

In early 2017, riots broke out in a largely immigrant neighbourhood near Stockholm.

A year ago in February, two days after US President Donald Trump's baffling comments linking crime to immigration in Sweden, riots broke out in the immigrant-heavy northern Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby.

Sweden is far from the only place where youth have set cars on fire.

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