Lidingö, a tony area whose residents include ABBA and other celebrities, has become the first in Stockholm to ban begging. Seemingly flying in the face of the Swedish identity, the move, passed by one vote, has divided the city.We can't have the Elite Well-Heeled Society feeling unsafe and insecure by the presence of beggars.
With its elite residents including ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lidingö is only the seventh municipality in all of Sweden to ban begging, and the idea still makes many Swedes uncomfortable.
In a country whose very identity is tied up with its robust universal welfare state and which for years had what was considered Europe’s most welcoming attitude to outsiders, the decision came as a bit of shock. Some outraged locals have called it a violation of human rights. Others, however, said it’s necessary to keep the well-heeled residents safe.
“The begging is a big problem and makes many Lidingö people feel insecure,” Daniel Källenfors, chairman of the municipal council, told Dagens Nyheter on Monday, after the measure was passed.
Opponents of the ban say it merely pushes the problem into other municipalities and scoff at the idea that moneyed locals feel threatened by beggars. “I have not so far found any Lidingö residents who say they are insecure,” Patrik Buddgård of the Center Party told DN. His party joined the Liberals to oppose the ban, which squeaked by with a vote of 26 for to 25 against.
“I’m afraid of this development,” Anna Larsdotter Persson, who watched the vote from the audience, told Mitti.se, adding that she “does not buy” the idea that the ban will improve the lives of beggars and believes it is a “populist policy” masquerading as something else.
“I have never been so ashamed of Lidingö as I am now,” Anita Dorazio, a representative for the Stockholm Asylum Committee and refugee advocate, told the outlet.
...[T]he beggars, in many cases that attracted publicity, are not locals. Six Bulgarians were arrested in December for trafficking nine of their countrymen to southern Sweden and forcing them to beg. The victims, including a pregnant woman who miscarried after she was assaulted by the traffickers, were fined, beaten, or starved by their “employers” if they did not bring in enough cash, according to Växjö District Court’s ruling.
Nor are beggars the only ones feeling the chill as the famously welcoming Swedish attitude begins to curdle after years of abuse. Faced with the reality that over 418,431 asylum-seekers – and a total of 920,206 immigrants – have made their way to Sweden since the Syrian war kicked the migrant crisis into high gear, Sweden, with a population of less than 10 million, has belatedly realized that being a migration capital of Europe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Bengtsfors, a municipality in southern Sweden, was forced to beg the government for economic help earlier this year after taking in more migrants than it could afford.
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Stockholm’s begging ban narrowly passed in ELITE district of Lidingö.
RT: ‘Never been so ashamed’: Stockholm’s begging ban narrowly passed in ELITE district has Swedes arguing over welcoming vs. security.