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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Swedish city hit by youth riots

A police officer tries to extinguish burning barricades
Police said all sorts of "troublemakers" had got involved

Dozens of youths have rioted in the southern Swedish city of Malmo for a second consecutive night, setting cars on fire and clashing with police.

"We've had a very difficult evening," a police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency late on Thursday.

"There have been fires burning since this afternoon... extensive damage to public property, and... stone-throwing and bomb threats against police."

She said the trouble was linked to the closure of an Islamic centre.

The owner of the building, in an immigrant neighbourhood, had decided not to renew the centre's lease. The centre, which included a mosque, had to move out.

But some youths squatted in the premises, until they were evicted by police earlier this week.

Once police left the premises, the youths returned, setting fires in the area. They then clashed with police.

"The origin of the riots is the occupation of the building. But that's not really the reason now, now other troublemakers have just joined in, taking advantage of the situation," police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford told AFP.

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