SHARE
COPY LINK

PROTESTS

Nine police injured during protest in Sweden

Counter-protesters demonstrating against a far-right group's intention to burn a Koran in Orebro in central Sweden clashed with police on Friday, leaving nine police officers injured, authorities said.

Cars burning in a parking lot in Navesta in Norrköping on Thursday evening, 14th April 2022 after riots broke out.
Cars burning in a parking lot in Navesta in Norrköping on Thursday evening, 14th April 2022 after riots broke out in response to the unrest in Linkoping Photo: Stefan Jerrevång / TT

Police said in a statement that nine officers were injured in all.

Their injuries included “broken arms and police officers who have been hit by stones,” police spokesperson Diana Qudhaib told the daily Aftonbladet.

A member of the public was also hit by a stone to the head.

The demonstration, involving around 200 people, according to local media, dispersed later in the evening.

It was the second day running that there had been clashes on the fringes of a rally by the anti-immigration and anti-Islamic Stram Kurs (Hard Line) movement led by Danish-Swedish Rasmus Paludan.

Three police officers had to be taken to hospital after a riot broke out in the city of Linkoping on Sweden’s east coast on Thursday, where a demonstration that included a Koran burning was planned. Two people were arrested at that protest.

Footage from the scene in the city of Linkoping on Sweden’s east coast showed a car burning and dozens of masked people attacking police cars.

“The mood has been aggressive and there have been attacks against police at the scene,” police spokeswoman Asa Willsund told broadcaster SVT, adding that things had calmed down after police had backed off.

The riot started ahead of a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that was meant to include a burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

While Stram Kurs had been given permission to hold their demonstration in the Skaggetorp neighbourhood — where over 50 percent of inhabitants were born abroad — they were not able to start it as police were dealing with the rioters.

“There are masked individuals at the scene that are throwing rocks at police,” a statement from regional police said, without identifying if they were part of the scheduled protest or counter-protesters.

Videos posted on social media showed young men smashing in windows of police cars and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).

The demonstration was scheduled to start at 3:30 pm but according to police they had not been able to carry it out.

Riots also broke out in Norrköping on Thursday evening in response to the planned demonstration in Linkoping.

Rioters throwing stones at the police in Navesta in Norrköping on Thursday evening, 14th April 2022.

Rioters throwing stones at the police in Navesta in Norrköping on Thursday evening, 14th April 2022. The unrest was triggered by the fact that right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan has been given permission to hold a public meeting. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång / TT
 

Reacting to the violence, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said: “In Sweden, people are allowed to express their opinions, whether they are in good or bad taste, that is part of our democracy. No matter what you think, you must never resort to violence. We will never accept it.”

“This is exactly the kind of violent reaction he (Rasmus Paludan) wants to see. The very purpose is to incite people against each other,” she added in comments to the TT news agency.

Paludan has regularly been at the centre of incidents in recent years.

In November 2020, he was arrested in France and deported.

Five other activists were arrested in Belgium shortly afterwards, accused of wanting to “spread hatred” by burning a Koran in Brussels.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

READ MORE:

SHOW COMMENTS