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Saturday, 16 June, 2001, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Swedish press critical of rioters
Police clash with demonstrators in the city centre
The shooting of rioters by police in Gothenburg takes up most of the front pages of Sweden's newspapers.

Under the headline "SHOT", one of the country's main tabloids, Aftonbladet, carries pictures of the moment one man was shot in the stomach and seriously wounded.

He is seen approaching two riot police, then throwing a cobblestone at one of them before being shot.

The police say their officers were acting in self-defence, after one of their numbers was struck unconscious by another stone.

'Rioters to blame'

But the Swedish press is more critical of the rioters on Gothenburg's streets than of the police who failed to contain them.

Aftonbladet calls them "The idiots who occupied the streets of Gothenburg".

Protester stands on damaged police car
Dagens Nyheter asks: "What do these people really want?"
"The black-clad and masked idiots transformed Avenyn [Gothenburg's main shopping street] into a war-zone, and who had travelled to Gothenburg with the sole aim to fight the police," the paper writes.

The Gothenburg-based GT, the main newspaper for western Sweden, has a picture of one of the police who drew guns on rioters Friday, under the headline "Gothenburg in panic".

Inside the paper was scathing in its critique of the violent elements of the demonstrators, who went on the rampage in the city's streets smashing, burning and looting property.

One leader article said: "You who are guilty of this should know that today not only do we Gothenburgers feel sad and betrayed. We are bloody mad."

People let down

Gothenburg's main broadsheet Goteborgs-Posten expressed equal dismay at what it sees as a minority of demonstrators who have let everybody else down.

"200-300 professional rioters... destroyed all our attempts... to showcase the art of democracy, which is about respect but also dialogue. We will say it was blue-eyed, but worth a try."

The paper also defended the actions of the police.

"We understand the police's frustration in the face of a superior power comprising black-clad teens who forced them back."


The Chairman of Gothenburg's city council, Goran Johansson, told Goteborgs-Posten he was very sorry for what had happened.

If you really want to change the world, shouldn't you try to get people on to your side, instead of smashing things up?

Dagens Nyheter
But he did not regret keeping up a dialogue with the main demonstrators, nor the decision to put demonstrators up for free in the city┐s schools.

"I feel sorry for all the demonstrators and all the young people who have been very committed, when these bloody rioters come just to make trouble," he told the paper.

Most of the front page of Sweden's main morning broadsheet, Dagens Nyheter, is covered by a photograph of a masked and hooded rioter, carrying one cobblestone in each hand, walking away from burning barricades on Gothenburg's main shopping street.

The paper asks: "What do these people really want?

"If you really want to change the world, shouldn't you try to get people on to your side, instead of smashing things up?"

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See also:

15 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair denounces EU protesters
15 Jun 01 | Europe
Gothenburgers count the cost
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