Sweden: Dozens arrested after protests over planned Quran burning

Police say they have arrested 26 people from Norrkoping and Linkoping, which witnessed violent protests against the far-right group’s plan to burn the Quran.

Sweden protests
The violence began on Thursday after a demonstration organised by Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line [Johan Nilsson/EPA]

Police in Sweden say they have arrested at least 26 people in the wake of weekend clashes in the cities of Norrkoping and Linkoping against the planned burning of the holy Quran by a far-right group.

Eight people were arrested in Norrkoping and 18 others were held in Linkoping, police said in a statement on Monday, adding that protesters in Norrkoping numbering about 150 threw stones at officers and set cars on fire.

“Police fired several warning shots. Three people seem to have been hit by ricochets and are now being cared for in hospital,” police said about Norrkoping, adding none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Twenty-six police officers and 14 civilians were injured, police added.

On Sunday, clashes erupted in both cities for the second time in four days over rallies by anti-immigration and anti-Islam group Hard Line, led by the Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan.

According to health services quoted by local news agency TT, 10 people were hospitalised with minor injuries following the clashes and similar unrest in Linkoping, where the far-right Hard Line also abandoned a demonstration.

The violence began after a demonstration was organised by Paludan.

Police and protesters have been engaged in clashes over the past days beginning on Thursday, leading to injuries to several officers and the torching of multiple vehicles.

Paludan, who had permission for a series of demonstrations across Sweden during the Easter weekend, is known for Quran burnings.

On Sunday, they rallied again to protest against another gathering, which in the end Paludan abandoned.

Sweden protest
Police and ambulance personnel carry an injured man who was shot in the leg during rioting in Norrkoping [Stefan Jerrevang/AFP]

In the city of Malmo, a bus caught fire after unknown perpetrators threw a burning object at the vehicle, broadcaster SVT reported.

Passengers managed to escape the vehicle before anyone was hurt.

Other vehicles and several dustbins were also set on fire in Malmo and police were pelted with stones and Molotov cocktails on Saturday night after far-right leader Paludan burned a Quran.

Source: News Agencies