40 injured after a “tour” to burn the Koran

After an anti-Islam tour by a right-wing extremist group, there have been violent scenes in the country for several days.

Swedish police on Monday injured 40, including 26 police officers, in severe violence that took place in several cities across the country following a “tour” by a far-right group planning to burn the Koran.

The management of this anti-Islam tour was also condemned by several Muslim countries: after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Turkish diplomacy expressed regret on Monday “the reluctance to prevent provocative and Islamophobic acts (…) under the guise of freedom of expression”while a demonstration was taking place in front of the Swedish embassy in Iran.

To the screams of“Allahu Akbar” The first counter-demonstrations against the arrival of the leader of the Danish anti-Islam party “Hard Line”, Rasmus Paludan, in Sweden (God is Great) had degenerated into violence against the police on Thursday in districts with heavily Muslim communities, including the Swedish cities of Norrköping and Linkoping.

The riot scenes then spread to several other cities over the weekend, where Mr Paludan, who has Danish and Swedish citizenship, set fire to or intended to set fire to copies of the Holy Book of Islam.

“We tried to kill police officers”

The Swedish police, whose twenty vehicles were burned or damaged, believe they were the primary target of what they described as such“violent riots”. “There are many indications that the main target was the police and not the organizers”said at a press conference Jonas Hysing, commander of special operations.

“We tried to kill police officers”The country’s chief of police, Anders Thornberg, joined him. “Criminals took advantage of the situation to show violence” and “unrelated to the demonstrations,” he also claimed. Swedish police also suspect the violence was aided from abroad, but no country has been named.

Monday was marked by a return to calm, with the departure of Mr Paludan from Sweden, who had returned to Denmark.

More than forty people, including several minors, were arrested in these clashes, which also took place in Malmö, Örebro and Rinkeby, a suburb of the capital Stockholm. The violence culminated on Sunday when police in Norrköping had to fire warning shots, injuring three people with what they believed were ricochet fires. In addition to the police, 14 people were injured.

“Around 200 participants were violent at the scene and the police had to intervene in self-defense with weapons,” according to Mr Hysing. Clashes with police, punctuated by stone throwing and burning cars, led to 26 arrests in Norrköping and Linköping on Sunday.

In Malmo, where Mr Paludan burned a Koran on Saturday, the night from Sunday to Monday was as turbulent as the day before, in particular a fire went out in a school.

A sometimes “tolerated” provocation

From Denmark to France to Belgium, Rasmus Paludan has been accustomed to Koran burning projects in recent years, mostly in immigrant neighborhoods with large Muslim populations. The events are often banned by the police, but sometimes tolerated in the name of freedom of demonstration, as in Sweden on Thursday, despite the high tensions caused by the rallies.

These permits are met with incomprehension in the Arab-Muslim world. “The heinous attacks in Sweden on our holy book, the Koran, show that the lessons of the past have not been learned”regretted the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Twitter “Hate crimes are openly tolerated under the guise of freedom of expression”.

Iraqi diplomacy had summoned the Swedish chargé d’affaires on Sunday and denounced an act “provocative to the feelings of Muslims and offensive to what is sacred to them”. Saudi Arabia also had “condemned the actions of certain extremists in Sweden and their provocations against Muslims”according to his official agency.

Leave a Comment