Peaceful Sweden witnesses riots triggered by Koran burning, dozens arrested
19 April 2022, 15:04
3 min reading
Sweden is witnessing violent clashes in many cities between police and protesters who oppose a right-wing extremist party’s plans to burn copies of the holy Islamic book – the Koran.
According to BBC, insurgents destroyed vehicles and arson and vandalism were reported in several cities in Sweden – in 15th place in the 2021 Global Peace Index.
Since riots broke out on Friday, the police have arrested almost 40 people in Sweden.
Why does this story matter?
- Tensions rose in Sweden after demonstrations organized by the right-wing party Stram Kurs party leader Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish politician.
- He claims to have burned a copy of the Qur’an earlier and intends to do so again, causing trouble.
- To remember, Sweden witnessed similar protests in 2020 against Stram Kurs’ plan to burn the Koran. The protests in Malmö became violent where cars and shops were vandalized.
Why is Paludan’s party burning copies of the Koran?
Paludan founded Stram Kurs 2017, which considers itself to be Denmark’s most patriotic political party “, which advocates anti-immigration and anti-Islam policies.
To note, the party won only 1.8% of the votes in the Danish election 2019, without securing any seat.
Paludan now intends to run in the Swedish election in September. However, he reportedly lacks the number of signatures required to line up.
Paludan was previously sentenced to prison in Denmark
As early as 2020, Paludan was sentenced to one month in prison in Denmark for a number of crimes, including racism. At the time, he was also convicted of sharing anti-Islamic content on social media channels in his Tight Course party.
Several civilians and police were injured in riots
Sweden’s latest riot has so far injured 26 police officers and 14 civilians. More than 20 police cars were also damaged.
Sweden’s national police chief, Anders Thornberg, said on Sunday that he had never seen such violent riots in his country.
According to Swedish police, about 200 people were involved in the riots, which were said to be organized by criminal gang networks.
Sweden’s prime minister has condemned riots in several cities
Riots have reportedly taken place in Stockholm, Rinkeby, Örebro, Linköping and Norrköping since last Friday.
Surprisingly, these are places where Stram Kurs previously planned or held demonstrations.
At the same time, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson condemned the unrest.
“I will make it very clear, those who attack the Swedish police, attack the Swedish democratic society. The perpetrators must be arrested, prosecuted and serve a sentence in prison,” she said.
A local priest protested against Paludan on Thursday
Paludan recently organized a rally in central Sweden’s Jönköping on Thursday. But his speech was interrupted by a priest who protested against him by ringing the bells of a local church when Paludan tried to speak into a megaphone with a Koran.
International condemnation of the right-wing Swedish riots
After the protests, Iraq and Iran called their Swedish ambassadors on Sunday and warned of “serious repercussions” on the bilateral ties.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry condemned the deliberate misuse of the Koran, as well as the provocative acts and incitement against Muslims by right-wing extremist members of the Scandinavian nation.