Riots at Eritrean festival in Sweden – stones thrown at police officers

Deteriorating safety

Published 3 August 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Violent scenes occurred on Thursday when a carnival on the festival site was stormed by nearly 1,000 people.

A violent confrontation broke out at an Eritrean festival in Järvafältet in Stockholm, with 52 people injured, four of them seriously, and over a hundred detained. The incident involved anti-regime protesters and festival goers, with hundreds of people involved.

Around 14:00, police were on the scene with a large resource to try to manage the riot. Helmeted police officers cordoned off a large area around the site.

During the riot, counter-demonstrators also stormed a carnival in the festival area. A truck and several tents were set on fire, leading to the danger of explosions due to LPG tanks. The situation was described as “total chaos”. Traffic on the E18 was temporarily stopped due to people on the road.

Eyewitness Raija was in the vicinity of the events and saw, among other things, one person being hit by a large stone in the head.


Fifteen-year-old Emma watched as two gangs threw stones at each other and hit each other with bats.

I wanted to ride, but I couldn’t because there were stones coming at us. And then they set cars on fire.

Despite the presence of a large police force, the response was described as inadequate:

We had already planned to avoid disturbances, but we saw that the resources we had at the scene were not sufficient when it escalated, said Daniel Wikdahl, police spokesperson.

Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer commented on the events:

It is not reasonable for Sweden to be drawn into other countries’ domestic conflicts in this way. If you flee to Sweden from violence, or are on a temporary visit, you should not cause violence here. The police’s resources are needed for more than just keeping different groups apart.

The festival, Festival Eritrea Scandinavia, was previously criticized for supporting the Eritrean regime.


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