Riots break out in Sweden as hundreds protest against far-right activists burning the Quran

Police link anti-islam activity to late night outbreak of violence

Liam James
Saturday 29 August 2020 12:28
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Smoke billows from burning tyres, pallets and fireworks  as hundreds protest the burning of the Quran in Malmo
Smoke billows from burning tyres, pallets and fireworks as hundreds protest the burning of the Quran in Malmo

Rioting broke out in the Swedish city of Malmo after hundreds gathered to oppose the burning of the Quran by far-right activists.

Rioters set fires and threw objects at police and emergency services and 15 people were detained after more than 300 people gathered in protest, police said.

“We don’t have this under control but we are working actively to take control,” a police spokesperson said on Friday evening.

“We see a connection between what is happening now and what happened earlier today,” the spokesperson said.

Police said rioters pelted emergency service personnel as fires raged

The riots erupted after a group of far-right activists gathered to burn Islam's holy book in an industrial area on the city's south side.

Local reports said the anti-Islam protests were sparked after Rasmus Paludan, leader of far-right Danish party Hard Line, was held up at the Swedish border and denied permission to hold a meeting in Malmo. Mr Paludan was on his way to hold a meeting on the supposed "Islamisation of the Nordic countries", according to the Daily Aftonbladet, a Swedish national newspaper.

Mr Paludan had reportedly been invited to speak by street artist and provocateur Dan Park, who has previously been convicted for inciting ethnic hatred.

“We suspect that he was going to break the law in Sweden,” Calle Persson, spokesperson for Malmo police told AFP, “there was also a risk that his behaviour ... would pose a threat to society.”

The riots kicked off late in the evening and did not settle down until around 3am, the Daily Aftonbladet reported.

The newspaper also reported that other islamophobic incidents had taken place around Malmo in the daytime on Friday, including the arrest of a group of three men who were kicking around a copy of the Quran in a central market square.

Additional reporting by agencies

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