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