Riots Erupt in Sweden

A Danish politician helped stoke the flames
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2020 5:00 PM CDT
Riots Erupt in Sweden
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)

Over 300 rioters hit the streets in Sweden on Friday night after far-right activists publicly burned a copy of the Quran, the Guardian reports. The unrest erupted in Malmo after a right-wing Danish politician was barred from entering the country for an anti-Muslim rally. His supporters responded by burning the holy book, triggering riots that included burning tires, stones thrown at police, several injured officers, and a handful of arrests. Al Jazeera reports that the politician, Rasmus Paludan, responded with angry message on Facebook: "Sent back and banned from Sweden for two years," he wrote. "However, rapists and murderers are always welcome!"

Spectators of the riots included Arabs and Muslims who opposed the rioting. "A maximum of five of them are Muslim," a young onlooker told the Guardian. "You know why? Because a real Muslim doesn't do this." Police later tried to dispel the notion that they had allowed people to burn the Quran, saying three suspects were collared for alleged hate crimes soon after video of the incident hit the Internet. But a rioter saw it differently during the overnight face-off against armored officers: "They're violating our civil rights by letting other people burn the Quran that we believe in and now we have to show that they can't do that," he shouted in a London accent. The violence had died down by Saturday morning. (More Sweden stories.)

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