Lars Vilks pictured in Helsinki last year. Photo: Vesa Moilanen/AP/TT
Security was stepped up at an art school in central Sweden ahead of a high profile lecture by Swedish cartoonist and freedom of speech campaigner, Lars Vilks, a year after the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
"We have secured the premises both inside and outside," Tommy Lindh, a spokesperson for Örebro police told the TT news agency.
Meanwhile the principal of Örebro Art School (Örebro Konstskola) school, Peter Ekström told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had wanted to give the controversial cartoonist the chance to speak openly, despite the security risks.
"It is the first day of the semester, and our students get this as a great lecture. Lars Vilks has become a symbol of a threatened freedom of expression and a threatened artistic freedom," he said.
A photo of Vilks arriving at the art school, tweeted by a local newspaper
Vilks gained international notoriety for a cartoon portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a dog back in 2007
, prompting protests by Muslims in Örebro, west of Stockholm, where the Nerikes Allehanda daily newspaper which published the cartoon is based. Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints about his work.
Four men were accused of plotting to kill him at a Gothenburg art fair in September 2011, though they were later acquitted.
The 69-year-old is believed to have been the intended target of an attack at a debate on Islam and freedom of expression in January 2015, when a gunman fired a volley of shots into the Krudttønden cultural centre in Copenhagen, leaving a 55-year-old man dead and three police officers wounded.
Vilks was understood to be planning to focus on themes in contemporary art in his latest Swedish lecture, with students given the chance to question the cartoonist afterwards.
"Of course there were some who thought it was awkward that there would be a lot of cops here, but I got a lot of very nice support from students when I presented this idea," said Ekström.