Riots in Stockholm suburb over elderly man shot dead by the police

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Gangs of youths angered by the police shooting death of an elderly man in a mainly immigrant neighbourhood hurled rocks at the police and set cars and buildings on fire at a Stockholm suburb early on Monday, forcing the evacuation of an apartment block.

Around 50 youths were involved in the riots in the suburb of Husby, police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.

The youths set a parking garage alight, compelling the police to evacuate residents from an adjacent apartment block, Mr Bystrom said. Residents were allowed to return home after a couple of hours.

Around 80 per cent of the roughly 11,000 people living in Husby - a drab, low-income neighbourhood of apartment blocks west of Stockholm - are first-generation or second-generation immigrants.

Mr Bystrom said the police responded to calls of burning cars and were met by masked youths hurling rocks at them.

One policeman was attacked by youths kicking him and two others were injured by rocks, local police officer Jorgen Karlsson said. He added around 10 cars were set ablaze, and windows were smashed at two schools and several local businesses.

Mr Karlsson said the dead man was "European", but could not specify his nationality.

Residents said they had gathered to protest against the shooting death, and that the police responded by sending in Swat teams that cordoned off the area.

The organisation Megafonen, which represents citizens in Stockholm's suburbs, said the police had used excessive violence against the youths and also attacked passers-by with batons and dogs.

The police have launched an internal probe to investigate the shooting death of the 69-year-old man on May 13. They say they shot the man in self-defence because he had attacked police officers with a knife when they broke down the door to an apartment where he had locked himself up with a woman.

However, Megafonen has criticised the police for initially releasing a faulty report, saying the man was taken to a hospital. The group said residents had seen his dead body being transported from the scene in a hearse hours after the shooting, which the police later admitted was correct.