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August 30, 2020

Riots in Sweden after desecration of Holy Quran

Top Story

August 30, 2020

STOCKHOLM: Far-right activists desecrated a copy of the Holy Quran in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest, police said Saturday.

Rioters set fires and threw objects at police and rescue services Friday night, slightly injuring several police officers and leading to the detention of about 15 people.

The demonstration of about 300 people was connected to an incident earlier in the day in which some persons desecrated the copy of the Islamic holy book, police spokesman Rickard Lundqvist told Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Between 10 and 20 protesters were arrested late Friday and "have all been released," police spokesman Patric Fors told AFP.

Several police were slightly injured, he added. The violence had subsided by Saturday morning.

"Those who act like this have nothing to do with Islam," Samir Muric, an imam, said on Facebook.

"It´s not right," Malmo resident Shahed told the SVT public broadcaster. "But it wouldn´t have happened if they hadn´t burnt the Quran," he added.

The authorities blocked an anti-Muslim Danish politician from attending an event. Rasmus Paludan, who leads the far-right Danish anti-immigration party Hard Line, was due to travel to Malmo to speak at Friday´s event, which was being held on the same day as main weekly prayers for Muslims.

But authorities pre-empted Paludan´s arrival by announcing he had been banned from entering Sweden for two years. He was later arrested near Malmo.

“We suspect that he was going to break the law in Sweden,” Calle Persson, spokesman for the police in Malmo told AFP.

“There was also a risk that his behaviour... would pose a threat to society.”

“It hurts,” Salim Mohammed Ali, a Muslim resident of Malmo for over 20 years, told SVT on Saturday. —Agencies