Riots in Sweden over burning of Quran by activists
Riot police on the scene as smoke billows from burning tires and fireworks, as a few hundred protesters riot in the Rosengard neighbourhood of Malmo, Sweden, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. PHOTO: AP

Far-right activists burned a Quran in Southern Swedish city of Malmo, sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest, police said Saturday.

Protesters threw stones at police and burned tyres on Friday, authorities said, hours after an anti-Muslim Danish politician was blocked from attending a Koran-burning rally nearby.

The violence in Sweden which followed the burning Friday afternoon of a Quran, near a predominantly migrant neighbourhood, that was carried out by far-right activists was filmed and posted online, according to the TT news agency.

Later, Sweden police arrested three people on suspicion of inciting hatred against an ethnic group after kicking the Muslim holy book (Quran).

Rasmus Paludan, who leads the far-right Danish anti-immigration party Hard Line, was due to travel to Malmo to speak at that event, which was being held on the same day as weekly prayers for the Muslim sabbath.

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.

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“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.”

But his supporters went ahead with the rally, and three people were then arrested for inciting racial hatred.

Paludan later put up a scathing message on Facebook.

“Sent back and banned from Sweden for two years. However, rapists and murderers are always welcome!” he wrote.

Paludan last year attracted media attention for burning a Koran wrapped in bacon — a meat that is anathema for Muslims.

[AP and AFP]

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