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A recent article in the Times of Sweden claimed criminal gangs in Tensta, Stockholm proclaimed a 6pm curfew for the locals:

“There was people from these groups that were out and told citizens that they shouldn’t be outside after 6 pm. It spread like a wildfire among those living in the area” There Rosengren, chief of police in the Rinkeby area, told TV4.

[...]

According to police, there are six different criminal gangs operating in this area, but especially two that have been in conflict the last two months. Police suspect it is these two gangs that are behind the curfew.

As far as I have been able to track, the origin of the claim is from Sweden' TV4

However, I'm not certain if this source is a reliable one. In addition, my Swedish is not fluent enough to say if the TV4 says what Times Of Sweden claims it says.

Was there curfew in Tensta, Stockholm (or some other suburb) proclaimed by criminal gangs? (Was it enforced?)

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Was there curfew in Tensta, Stockholm (or some other suburb) proclaimed by criminal gangs?

Yes, according to the police. No, according to SVT (but more about that later).

Summarizing from the article (sv) by SVT:

A source told SVT:

…kriminella personer i området ha uppmanat ett antal yngre personer att inte röra sig ute sent på kvällen.

Criminal people in the area urged a number of young people not to stay outside late at night

However, SVT went out to ask people on the street two months later:

…ingen av personerna som SVT Nyheter [mötte] som kände igen sig i bilden av att ett utegångsförbud införts.

"None of those asked by SVT felt that it was right to call it a curfew" 1

But the police in the area has a different opinion:

Mina kollegor uppmärksammade att det var ovanligt lite folk i rörelse ute i lokala Tensta. [Vi fick] uppgifter som gjorde gällande att kriminella individer basunerat ut att man inte skulle vara ute efter klockan 18.00. […] Vi gjorde allt i vår makt för att medborgare skulle känna sig trygga med förstärkning till området och på så vis häva det här så kallade utegångsförbudet.

"My colleagues noticed an unusually small number of people outside. We received information that criminal individuals had spread the word that you should not be outside after 18:00. We did all in our power to make the citizens feel safe, with extra personnel to break this so-called curfew."

From this report I can conclude that the primary "eyewitness" here is the police, who first observed a reduced number of people outside and also talked to others at that time to figure out what was going on.

Was it enforced?

This is easier. None of the sources mentions anything about someone getting in trouble for staying out. Since it is never mentioned it is impossible to say if…

  • People were afraid to go out so no enforcing was necessary
  • The gang did enforce it
  • The police prevented the curfew from being enforced

Note about the source and background about SVT

There are in my opinion a few problems with the article by SVT.

First, the curfew was supposed to have taken place in the 25th of August, but the article interviews people almost two months after. The original reports never claimed that the curfew was supposed to have been in place for more than one evening, but from the people interviewed it seems as if they are being asked if there is a curfew going on now.

Second, any discussions about gang violence in Sweden invariably become a question of gangs with immigrant backgrounds. Any gang-related news is bound to turn into an immigration debate, with the agendas from each side shining through. This turns something that should perhaps only be a matter for the local police into a highly politicized matter.

This politicization may matter in the case of the article by SVT, because much like BBC and CNN, SVT is often accused of having a left-wing bias, especially when it comes to articles about immigration - a sensitive subject in Sweden. Another article from a source with a polar opposite bias (blatant right-wing populist) claims that bias may have affected the SVT article because they found that the first "person on the street" is a radical communist who insinuates that the police are lying about the curfew to badmouth the area, and the second person may actually be a member of the gang involved, based on his criminal history and social media posts.


1. Not a literal translation but I think it captures the spirit better than a literal translation would)

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  • Good write up. Do we have a source for the police statements?
    – pinegulf
    Nov 5 '20 at 8:07
  • @CGCampbell I tried to explain it with the follow up sentence but maybe I need to clarify that. Any gang-related news is bound to turn into an immigration debate, with all the agendas from each side (for and against) shining through.
    – pipe
    Nov 5 '20 at 13:12
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As requested in comments:

Your TV4 link is from 17 October. On 20 October Swedish Television reported "Information about curfews in Tensta exaggerated" using the lovely Swedish word överdriven. Apparently this was not a show of power, but instead gangs trying to reduce the risk of injuries to bystanders during a fight with other gangs by warning those already on the streets.

The original story went viral internationally after being pushed by Russian sources on 19 October.

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  • Am I understanding this right, if the answer would be 'no, based on swedish television.'?
    – pinegulf
    Nov 2 '20 at 17:35
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    @pinegulf Swedish Television seems to suggest the gang apparently told people outdoors to leave the street that evening or face being hurt. Whether this amounted to a gang-imposed "curfew" may be more of a subjective interpretation; it is clearly not a positive thing.
    – Henry
    Nov 2 '20 at 17:41

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