Sweden: three injured during a demonstration against a far-right rally | Sweden
Swedish police said officers injured three people in the eastern town of Norrköping as demonstrators protested plans by a far-right group to burn copies of the Koran.
“The police fired several warning shots. Three people appear to have been hit by ricochets and are currently being treated in hospital,” police said in a statement.
The three injured were under arrest, police said, adding that their condition was not known.
Sunday’s clashes in Norrköping were the second in four days. The first time demonstrators protested against a rally by anti-immigration and anti-Islam group Hard Line, led by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan.
On Sunday, they gathered again to protest another rally, which Paludan eventually abandoned.
Four people were arrested among the roughly 150 attendees, as protesters threw rocks at officers and cars were set on fire, police said.
According to the health services quoted by the local news agency TT, 10 people were hospitalized with minor injuries following clashes in Norrköping and similar unrest in the nearby town of Linköping, where Hard Line also abandoned a expression.
Paludan, 40, who intends to stand in the Swedish legislative elections in September but who does not yet have the number of signatures necessary to establish his candidacy, is on a “tour” in Sweden. He visits neighborhoods with a large Muslim population where he wants to burn copies of the Koran.
A lawyer and YouTuber, he has already been convicted of racist insults. In 2019, he burned a bacon-wrapped Quran and was blocked for a month by Facebook after a post confusing immigration with crime.
On Saturday, one of its gatherings was moved from a neighborhood in Landskrona to a secluded parking lot in southern Malmö, a large neighboring city, but a car tried to break through the protective barriers. The driver was arrested and Paludan then burned a Quran.
The Hard Line tour has sparked several clashes between police and counter-protesters across the Scandinavian country in recent days. On Thursday and Friday, a dozen police officers were injured in the clashes.
Following the incidents, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry announced that it had summoned the Swedish charge d’affaires to Baghdad on Sunday.
He said the case could have “serious repercussions” on “relations between Sweden and Muslims in general, both Muslim and Arab countries and Muslim communities in Europe”.
In November 2020, Paludan was arrested in France and deported. Five other activists were arrested in Belgium soon after, accused of wanting to “spread hatred” by burning a Koran in Brussels.