Man Given 6 Months for Swedish anti-Israel Riot
Man who threw stones at police to protest Israeli tennis team gets jail time.
A 23-year old Swedish man has been sentenced to six months in jail by the country’s appeals court for rioting outside a Davis Cup tennis match between Israel and Sweden.
The man had previously been acquitted by a lower court on the grounds that he could not be identified with certainly from video footage of the March 2009 riots, which took place in Malmo. The appeals court found that the footage likely showed the man throwing stones at police and changing his clothes during the altercation to avoid arrest.
The man and another defendant were ordered to pay 130,000 kronor ($18,000 USD) due to damage to police vehicles.
According to Swedish prosecutor Bo Birgerson 10 people have so far been convicted of participating in the clash which began when an anti-Israel demonstration outside the Malmo tennis stadiums spiraled into violence.
The tournament was forced to hold the matches in an empty stadium because Malmo officials refused to guarantee anyone’s safety. For holding the match without spectators, the Swedish Tennis Federation was fined $25,000. Malmo is also not allowed to hold Davis Cup matches for five years.
The riots involved dozens of anti-Israel protesters. They charged police in a failed attempt at breaching security outside the stadium in order to gain access to the court where the Israeli tennis team was playing against the Swedish tennis team.
Rocks, bottles of paint and firecrackers were thrown at police in riot squad vans and on horseback by over 100 masked rioters, many dressed in black, as they pushed at barricades set up to prevent public access to the stadium. Hundreds of riot police were present. They fought off the crowd with truncheons.
One of the rioters was able to climb onto a police van. Egged on by the crowd, he jumped on its flashing lights until they were smashed. A second rioter drew an “A” on the window of a police car, telling AFP that the rioters were anarchists.
Approximately 100 protesters were taken in by police and six were formally charged with rioting.
The riot was an offshoot of a bigger demonstration in protest of the Gaza war that had been given authorization by officials.