Logga in på Dagens Nyheter

Här kan du som DN-kund logga in för obegränsad läsning av DN.se, e-DN och DN.Prio.

Med ett gratiskonto kan du följa skribenter och ämnen samt bokmärka artiklar.

Sverige

Assaults at the Stockholm festival have never been fully investigated

For two years, a male gang has assaulted girls at Europe's largest youth festival: We are Sthlm.

In the official version, the police released a statement that the festival proceeded calmly - but DN's review shows that internal emergency reports have been hushed up.

”We should have absolutely reported this”, says police spokesperson Varg Gyllander.

DN has reviewed parts of the internal memos that were sent each day during the We are Sthlm youth festival to the police chiefs and the Stockholm police media centre. The first reports of sexual assaults against female concertgoers came quickly.

"The problem of younger men rubbing themselves on young girls in the sea of people has reappeared as in previous years," states one memo from the first day in August last year.

The problem arose as soon as the concerts started.

”Despite the relatively small crowds, several girls were harassed by boys and men sexually molesting them under the

cover of the crowd", was written in another report.

But when the Stockholm police summarised the festival week on their website, the press officer wrote the following: "There have been relatively few crimes and few arrests considering the number of concertgoers."

While record numbers had sought out the police tent, the fact that many of those assaulted were girls was kept out of

the text.

– The youngest girls were surely only eleven or twelve. I would never have let my own daughter go to the festival if I knew what happened, says one of the approximately fifty police who was part of the special Stockholm police command.

DN's review shows that the assaults were not unexpected.

During 2014, a multitude of molestation reports, including those in connection with mobile phone thefts were reported, and one young girl experienced a finger pushed into her vagina, which is classified as rape. The perpetrators were, according to DN's sources, often young foreign men that had come to Sweden without their parents.

Roger Ticoalu is Director of Events at Stockholm City Council, which arranges the We are Sthlm. He says that sexual crimes have always occurred, but 2014 saw a major difference in the committed crimes.

– These cases were very special. These are groups of young men who intentionally seek out, surround and molest young women. At first, we were totally shocked by their approach. When we received the first indications of what was happening, we could not believe it was true, says Ticoalu.

Peter Ågren is Chief of Södermalm's police and was the commander for "We are Sthlm" 2014.

– We had talked a lot about this and had established a strategy for how we would monitor the crowd and read it in order to quickly intervene, says Peter Ågren.

In 2015, guards, volunteers and police had been assigned to pay special attention and intervene at the slightest sign.

The increased monitoring was insufficient. The internal reports that DN has received show that the assaults increased in scope.

And after a few days, the police had identified a group of about fifty persons that were suspected to be the perpetrators.

"These are so-called refugee youths primarily from Afghanistan. Several from the gang were arrested for sexual harassment. The gang was also responsible for several fights during the evening. On complainant had their arm dislocated," wrote the police.

In some cases, it was possible to intervene with the suspect. During days two and three, a total of ten reports of

sexual harassment were made, according to the internal reports.

– But there were very few reports in relation to the number of suspected crimes. It was crowded, it happened fast and the girls had trouble pointing out who did what, says another policeman.

The strategy instead became to remove the suspects from the area with the help of laws and regulations. A total of more than 200 young men were removed over the five days. The police also put a lot of effort into comforting the victimised girls and driving them to their parents.

Things went so far that the police considered dividing the public by gender.

– But, we decided that it would be too invasive. Shouldn't the girls be able to stand with their boyfriends? says Policeman Christian Frödén.

Cancelling the event was never actual. Instead, Stockholm City Council's personnel were assigned the task of contacting the girls and warning them.

"The organisers work very hard to clearly make known what is OK and what is not OK," is written in a memo.

But nothing of this was mentioned in the information provided to the general public and the mass media.

DN was unsuccessful in reaching the Stockholm Police press officer yesterday.

Spokesperson Varg Gyllander, however, condemns how it was handled.

– Without a doubt, we should have absolutely written and reported this. Why it did not happen, I do not know," he says.

– This is so enormous and on Monday on will retrace the entire thing to find the cause.

Several of the police that DN spoke with stated that the authorities deliberately avoid reporting on phenomena that

is tied to perpetrators with foreign backgrounds.

– But you must convey a picture of what actually took place and what all of the police that were in the field are aware of," says a policeman who wishes to remain anonymous.

– This is a sore point, sometimes, we do not dare to say how things really are because we believe it will play into the hands of the Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats). We have to take responsibility for this within the police, says Police Chief Peter Ågren.

According to DN's review, none of the cases reported has led to any prosecution. Peter Ågren explains that management is now discussing how work will be improved prior to this summer's festival.

– Above all, it concerns the prosecution perspective. We must have more resources to be able to hold interrogations on site and conduct investigations that stand up in court. Otherwise, we know from experience that the prosecutors will drop the charges in this type of case.

Stockholm City Council Director of Event, Roger Ticoalu says that all information on sexual harassment has been taken seriously. We are Sthlm has taken charge of the problem, he believes, by including such things as training personnel in values. The security department has been given added resources and both the guards and the civil police have been on site along with uniformed police. He has no answer for why so few crimes are reported.

"A regular concert where you buy tickets is much easier to monitor. Occasionally, we have received a report that

"someone tried to molest me", but then, it is hard to intervene.

Another reason, Roger Ticoalu believes, why girls are not filing reports may be that what is viewed as OK and not OK in society has deteriorated.

– It will require a lot more work to be able to put a stop to this. What is positive, with the reawakening of the debate

is that everyone can take greater responsibility for putting a stop to this.

Dagens Nyheter's Managing Editor, Caspar Opitz, answers questions on the alleged cover-up.