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Kalmar mall gutted in suspected arson case
The suspected case of arson has left large parts of the Berga Centrum shopping centre in ruins and prompted local officials to consider offering reward money for tips to help solve a number of recent cases of suspected arson.
Firefighters abandoned the northern section of the mall around 11pm on Wednesday night in order to focus on saving the rest of the complex.
“There was a high risk that things would spread and therefore emergency crews decided to save parts of Berga Centrum that hadn't already burned,” duty police officer Reinhold Liljedal told the TT news agency.
“The building that was alight was allowed to burn down.”
Massive flames lit up the night sky and thick smoke billowed from the burning building.
Nearby residents escaped the need to evacuate thanks to winds blowing in the opposite direction and no people were injured.
“Work to extinguish the fire will continue into Thursday morning,” said Liljedal.
In recent weeks, a number of containers and waste bins have been set alight in the Berga neighbourhood.
Following the massive mall blaze, officials with Kalmar municipality are now considering offering a reward to people who can help police arrest the suspected arsonist or arsonists.
“This is exactly what we were afraid of. It pisses me off to be woken up in the middle of the night by news that Berga Centrum is burning,” municipal council member Johan Persson told the local Barometern newspaper.
The first call about the fire came in around 10.20pm on Wednesday night with a report of a burning rubbish container behind a pharmacy at the shopping centre.
The flames became so intense that they spread to a building housing stores and a bank, after which the fire spread further via the roof.
Soon thereafter it was clear the building couldn't be saved.
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Thousands of people gathered at 5pm Friday evening at Sergel Square in central Stockholm to participate in a candle ceremony in commemoration of the victims from last week’s terror attacks in Norway.
Many carried red roses and a few brought Norwegian flags.
A minute silence hushed the crowd in honour of the more than 70 victims who were killed in the attack on government headquarters in Oslo and at the youth political camp on the nearby island of Utöya.
Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and former Social Democratic party leaders, Mona Sahlin and Ingvar Carlsson, took part in the memorial service.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who has been highly criticized for keeping too low a profile and not being emotional enough after the massacre, did not attend.
”The attack against the government building and the mass murder of Utöya were political acts. It was well thought-out and planned in minute detail, and it was a diabolical act,” Carlsson said during the event.
Mona Sahlin, former leader of the Social Democrats, also took part in the luminary ceremony.
”I know many of my friends' children who were on Utöya and I just felt such despair. I've been there myself many times,” she said.
Sahlin mentioned the attacker’s, Anders Behring Breivik, manifesto.
”I have been threatened and hated on these right-wing websites for so many years. I see it really as a tribute - as those who hate democracy most, hate me, too. It is a receipt,” she said.
The Social Democrats' former leader Ingvar Carlsson has also been to Utöya.
”I was there the first time in 1960. I have experienced the joy of being there and now to see the pictures conveyed has been very heavy,” he said.
He added that it's important for the Young AUF to build Utöya again.
”One should not give up Utöya after the terrible attacks, but they will need strong support,” said Christian Antoni Möllerop, Vice Chair of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Riksförbundet för homosexuellas, bisexuellas och transpersoners rättigheter, RFSL), who also attended the memorial service at Sergel Square.
He said he feels himself as one of those killed on Utöya.
”Unfortunately one of those with whom I've worked a long time with during my time as an activist for RFSL's sister organization in Norway, died on Utöya.”
He said it is too early and too difficult to describe his feelings about what happened.
”There is still mourning and there are many questions that remain unanswered. Now it is important that we join together and try to look ahead,” Möllerop added.
Ella Coogan, 20-years-old from Stockholm, came to participate in the memorial light ceremony at Sergel Square.
”I am here to honour the children and young people who were killed in Norway,” she told the TT news agency.
She also attended the memorial service at the Norwegian Embassy in Stockholm last Saturday and says she has thought a lot about what happened the last few days.
Coogan is active with Ung Vänster (UV), the youth organization of the Swedish Left Party (Vänsterpartiet, VP).
”I hope that this does not mean that young people are afraid to get involved, but that they feel it's more important to be active.”
During Friday's commemorative light ceremony, representatives from five of the parliamentary youth parties were present and spoke a few words while lighting a candle.
Representatives from the Green Youth (Grön Ungdom, GU) and LUF, Liberal Youth of Sweden (Liberala ungdomsförbundet ) could not attend.
Members from Sweden Democrats' youth organization (Sveriges Socialdemokratiska Ungdomsförbund, SSU) were not invited
Buildings protected include Rosenbad, the government office and the Norwegian embassy, according to the security police Säpo.
"We took measures quickly and looked over our personal protection," said Sara Kvarnström, press secretary at Säpo, to news agency TT.
According to Kvarnström, the Stockholm police force is responsible for monitoring buildings since Friday.
"This could've happened anywhere. Extreme-right environments are much more present in Sweden than Norway," said researcher Magnus Norell of the Swedish Defense Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut).
"If you'd asked me two months ago, what country this was going to happen in, I wouldn't have said Norway," he said.
European police organisation Europol warn in their terror report that extreme-right groups are very active on social networking sites on the Internet, where they reach out to young people. This can create a growing threat in future.
In total, 249 terror attacks were carried out, stopped or failed in EU 2010. However, none was connected with extreme-right groups.
And according to Norell, catching and preventing lone perpetrators such as Anders Behring Breivik is very difficult.
"It's practically impossible to discover these people, if they aren't active. Something has to happen for them to be discovered ahead of time," he said.
In relation to inhabitants, extreme-right environments in Sweden are bigger than Norway, and the same size as in Denmark and Germany, according to Säpo.
Police in Stockholm have increased their presence at key government buildings in the capital following the dramatic explosion in Oslo on Friday afternoon."Of course, the incident influences us in Stockholm," police spokesman Stefan Färdigs told TT.