Unrest provoked by far-right demonstrations continues in Sweden

Unrest erupted in southern Sweden despite police moving the march of a far-right anti-Islam group, which had been planning to burn a Koran among other things, to a new location as a precaution.

HELSINKI – Unrest erupted in southern Sweden late Saturday despite police moving a demonstration organized by an anti-Islam far-right group, which had been planning to burn a Quran among other things, to a new location as a precaution.

Swedish police said up to 100 youths, most of whom threw stones, set cars, tires and trash cans on fire, and erected a fence that obstructed traffic. The situation calmed down in Landskrona late Saturday but remained tense, police said, adding that no injuries were reported in the operation.

Violent clashes erupted Friday evening between protesters and counter-protesters in the central city of Orebro ahead of a Stram-Course plan to burn a Koran there, injuring 12 policemen and burning four police cars.

Video footage and photos from chaotic scenes in Örebro showed burning police cars and protesters throwing stones and other objects at police officers in riot gear.

Police spokeswoman in southern Sweden, Kim Held, said earlier Saturday that the police would not revoke permission for the Landskrona demonstration because the threshold for doing so is too high in Sweden, which values ​​freedom of expression.

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Held told Swedish news agency TT that the protesters’ right to “demonstrate and speak out has a great deal of weight and takes an incredible amount to be ignored.”

The demonstration took place on Saturday evening in a central park in Malmö, where Rasmus Palaudan, leader of the Strambourg, addressed dozens of people. A few counter-protesters threw stones at the protesters and the police had to use pepper spray to disperse them.

Swedish media reported that Paludan himself was hit by a stone in the leg. Police said there were no reports of serious injuries.

Since Thursday, clashes have also been reported in Stockholm and in the cities of Linkoping and Norrkoping – all locations where Stram Kurs has planned or had demonstrations.

Baludan, a Danish lawyer who also holds Swedish citizenship, founded Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line”, in 2017. The party’s website, which operates with an anti-immigration and anti-Islam agenda, says, “Stram Kurs is the most patriotic political party in Denmark.”

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