Several dozen people have been hurt in several days of turmoil and riots in Sweden spurred by a far-right group’s intentions to burn the Quran. Since Thursday, protests have turned violent in many towns, injuring 26 police officers and 14 citizens, according to a news conference held by police on Monday.
Three rioters were shot by police in the Swedish city of Norrkoping on Sunday, requiring medical treatment.
“Ricochets appear to have struck three people, who are being treated in hospitals at the moment. All three people who were affected have been detained on suspicion of committing a crime. No one was badly injured,” police stated in a statement.
Counter-protesters attacked police in anticipation of scheduled right-wing extremist protests in various places. The violent riots have been criticized by Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. Following the skirmishes, police in Sweden detained 26 individuals. Police stated eight persons were arrested in Norrkoping and 18 others were held in Linkoping in a statement.
Despite the fact that authorities moved an anti-Islam far-right gathering from Landskrona to a car park in Malmo on Saturday to avoid bloodshed, unrest erupted in southern Sweden late Saturday. A motorist attempted to slam into the barricades. Paludan allegedly burnt a Quran when the driver was apprehended.
According to Swedish police, in riots, up to 100 individuals flung stones, set cars on fire torched tyres and trash bins and created a traffic-blocking barrier fence. The scene in Landskrona had cooled down by late Saturday.
Demonstrations erupted in Norrkoping on Sunday as far-right groups prepared to burn the Quran. Three persons were injured. For the second time in four days, Norrkoping saw conflicts on Sunday. Demonstrators had originally demonstrated against a Hard-Line event. They protested again on Sunday, this time against a different event that Paludan finally dropped. The demonstration drew over 150 people, and four individuals were detained after stones were hurled at officers and cars were set on fire, according to police.
Following a demonstration headed by Rasmus Paludan on Thursday, violent demonstrations erupted. Due to Hard Line’s ‘tour,’ police and counter-protesters have battled across Norway in recent days. During the fights on Thursday and Friday, about 12 police officers were hurt.
THE INTERNATIONAL REACTION
The burning of the Quran by far-right organisations in Sweden has been vehemently denounced by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry issued a statement early Monday condemning the purposeful misuse of the Quran, as well as provocations and incitement against Muslims by certain radicals in the Scandinavian nation.
Saudi Arabia also emphasizes the need for concerted efforts to propagate ideals of discussion, tolerance, and coexistence, as well as to denounce bigotry, extremism, and exclusion, and avoid the misuse of all religions and sacred sites, according to the ministry.
Iraq summoned the Swedish Charge D’Affairs Hakan Rooth on Sunday to Baghdad for the burning of the Quran before Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi foreign ministry stated in a statement that it had submitted a protest with Rooth about the event in Sweden.
The government also cautioned that burning the sacred text would have major ramifications for Sweden’s relations with Muslims in general, as well as with Muslim and Arab nations, and European Muslim populations.
Stram Kurs, or ‘Hard-Line,’ was formed in 2017 by Rasmus Paludan, a Danish lawyer with Swedish citizenship. The party’s anti-immigration and anti-Islam principles are key to its platform. According to the party’s website, “Stram Kurs is Denmark’s most patriotic political party.”
Paludan, who is also a YouTuber, plans to run for the Swedish Parliament in September. Regardless, he lacks the minimum number of signatures to seal his nomination.
Edited By: Kiran Maharana
Published By: Akshaj Joshi