Residents in an upscale Swedish neighborhood are protesting the city’s attempt to purchase property currently leased by motorcycle gang Hells Angels and house un-accompanied child migrants in it instead.
The city of Nacka outside Stockholm is bidding on a private property currently used as a clubhouse for Hells Angels. When it was revealed that the city planned to turn it into a shelter for 18 child refugees, residents on the block started petitioning for the city to back down.
“We have during our 10 years never felt fear for the current tenants Hells Angels, rather the opposite,” a Nacka resident wrote in an email to the city. “They have never scared our children or misbehaved. Now, if the rumors are true that 18 child migrants are moving in, our children’s fun and our open doors will be a part of history.”
Police have carried out several raids against Hells Angels and tried to shut down the clubhouse for illegal operations. Despite the links to criminal activity, neighbors say the bikers never caused any problems during their years in the house.
One man said he will no longer feel comfortable letting his wife be in the backyard or walk home from work alone if it ends up as a refugee shelter.
“I won’t risk letting my wife be outside or walk home from work alone. I won’t let our daughters come visit,” the resident wrote in his email to the city. “We’ll be forced to move to a different city. Do you understand what you are doing? We live in Nacka because it’s safe.”
Public broadcaster SVT spoke to residents who feel the value of their property will go down if refugees live in the neighborhood.
The city was forced to pull out of a different plan to build a refugee shelter earlier this year because of similar protests. This time around, politicians see no reason to back off.
“We have no reason to back off now,” Nacka’s Municipal Commissioner Jan-Erik Jansson told SVT. “We’ll see if we succeed in buying the house, and then we’ll figure out how to use it.”
The city emphasizes that it hasn’t decided what the house will be used for exactly, but that it will be some sort of shelter for social services.
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