Police in Sweden have been accused of hushing up a series of sexual assaults by asylum seekers at Europe's largest teen pop festival, with one senior officer saying police wanted to avoid "playing into the hands" of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party.

The scandal, which followed the leak of an internal memo to the DN newspaper, is the latest in a ripple effect seen across Europe following the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by asylum seekers in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve.

According to Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper, from the very first day of We are Sthlm, a free festival held last August for 13-19 year olds, police were aware of gangs of young Afghan men surrounding and sexually harassing girls. The 2014 event had seen a similar wave of assaults, the paper said.

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