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Violence erupts in Sweden’s Malmo after anti-Islam activities: All you need to know

Violence in Malmo: Protesters were throwing objects at police officers and car tyres had been set on fire, a police spokesman said. 

By: Reuters | Stockholm | Updated: August 31, 2020 1:01:42 pm
Malmo, Malmo riots. Sweden, Sweden riotsMalmo riots: 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. (TT News Agency via AP)

Violence in Malmo: A riot broke out on Friday in the southern Swedish town of Malmo, where at least 300 people had gathered to protest against anti-Islam activities, police said. Protesters were throwing objects at police officers and car tyres had been set on fire, a police spokesman said.

Earlier in the day, a copy of the Quran had been burned in Malmo by right-wing extremists.

Malmo, Malmo riots, Sweden riots Malmo riots: Staff from the City of Malmo clear up broken glass from one of about 15 broken bus shelters at Rosengard in Malmo, Sweden, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. (Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency via AP)

“We don’t have this under control but we are working actively to take control,” the spokesman said. “We see a connection between what is happening now and what happened earlier today,” he said.

Malmo, Malmo riots, Sweden riots Malmo riots: A burnt out truck is seen in Malmo, Sweden, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. (Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency via AP)

The demonstrations had escalated in the same place where the Quran had been burned, the spokesman said.

Explained: Why have violent riots broken out in the Swedish city of Malmo?

Daily Aftonbladet said several anti-Islam activities had taken place in Malmo on Friday, including three men kicking a copy of the Quran between them in a public square.

Malmo, Malmo riots, Sweden riots Malmo riots: Smoke billows from burning tyres and pallets and fireworks as a few hundred protesters riot in the Rosengard neighbourhood of Malmo, Sweden, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.  (TT News Agency via AP)

The anti-Islam protests occurred after Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line, had been denied permission to have a meeting in Malmo and was stopped at the Swedish border, according to the newspaper.

Malmo, Sweden riots, Malmo riot, Sweden violence Malmo riots: 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. (TT News Agency via AP)

Who is Rasmus Paludan?

Paludan is a Danish politician and lawyer who founded the far-right party Stam Kurs in 2017 and was noticed for making anti-Muslim videos on YouTube, the contents of which included burning the Quran, at times wrapped in bacon, which he justified as a tribute to free speech.

In June, Paludan was convicted on charges of racism for posting anti-Islam videos on his party’s social media channels, as a result of which he was sentenced to three months in jail and was disbarred from practicing law. In 2019, he was sentenced to 14 days of conditional imprisonment for delivering a racist speech. In June he was found guilty on 14 counts including racism, defamation and hazardous driving and served one month in jail along with two months of a suspended sentence.

Paludan was close to getting into parliament in the last Danish elections with a policy based on deporting more than 300,000 Muslims from Denmark and banning Islam.

On Friday, Paludan was barred from entering Sweden and was given a two-year entry ban.

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