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Over last weekend, more than 50 cases of sexual assault were reported across two Swedish festivals. At one – Bravalla – five women said they had been raped and another 12 reported sexual assault, while at the other – Putte i Parken – there were a further 35 reports of assault, the youngest from a girl aged 12. In a statement on the Värmland regional police’s website, the Putte i Parken assaults were attributed to “foreign young men”. “There is no doubt,” the statement said plainly, “about who takes these liberties”.
Except it turned out that there was doubt. Within a few hours the statement had been taken down.
The police later admitted that only two of the seven men or boys arrested for the Putte i Parken incidents were from HVB homes – residential homes for young people, often refugees without parents. There’s even less evidence to suggest the rapes at Bravalla were carried out by immigrants – but the two were instantly lumped together. “The wording was unfortunate,” read a second statement, “and we will take that to heart.”