Sexual assaults by gangs of refugees — similar to the events in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve — happened two years in a row at a music festival in Stockholm, Sweden. Police allegedly kept the events quiet in attempts to avoid public debate on immigration.
The assaults took place at the We are Sthlm music festival in August of 2014 and 2015, according to an investigation published Sunday by daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Most of the attendees were teenage girls, but some were as young as 11 years old, according to police.
The investigation contains email exchanges between police officers during and after the festival. The perpetrators were recently-arrived Afghani refugees, but there are no figures of how many people they assaulted since most incidents went unreported. The gangs also brutally assaulted teenage boys who tried to intervene, according to the investigation.
“The youngest girls were just 11 or 12 years old,” an anonymous police officer told DN. “I would have never let my own daughter go to the festival if I was aware of what happened.”
At least one case was severe enough to be classified as rape against a young girl during the 2014 festival. But the rape was kept quiet since the perpetrators were young immigrants and police wanted to avoid debate on immigration. Police were particularly scared that the Sweden Democrats — an anti-immigration party that’s been growing steadily in recent years — would capitalize on the assaults.
“It’s a sore spot. We’re sometimes scared to tell the truth because we think it will benefit the Sweden Democrats,” Police Chief Peter Ågren told DN. “This one is on us.”
Roger Ticoalu, the organizer of the event, said the claims from girls were so unheard of that they didn’t think they were real.
“These cases are very special. It’s groups of guys that deliberately target girls to circle and sexually abuse,” Ticoalu told DN. “We were shocked to hear their strategies. When we got the first reports we didn’t believe it had happened.”
[dcquiz] One of the victims, named Fanny, described her 2015 assault to tabloid Aftonbladet in an interview Sunday. She was just 16-years-old at the time of the attack.
“They were touching our butts and breasts and everywhere,” said Fanny, who attended the festival with her friends. “You felt so powerless, it was really unpleasant. When we tried to get out they stopped us and even hit us.”
The police made a handful of arrests each year, but the vast majority of the cases went unsolved since the perpetrators easily disappeared in the crowds, according to reports.
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