Iraqi Protesters Storm Swedish Embassy

Iraqi protesters denounced plans to burn Koran outside country's Stockholm embassy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 4:23 AM CDT
Protesters Storm Swedish Embassy
Protesters scale a wall at the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Thursday, July 20, 2023. Protesters angered by the planned burning of a copy of the Quran stormed the embassy early Thursday, breaking into the compound and lighting a small fire.   (AP Photo/Ali Jabar)

The Swedish embassy in Baghdad was stormed Thursday by hundreds of protesters angered by plans to burn a Koran outside the Iraqi embassy in Sweden. Protesters broke into the compound, which also houses the Finnish embassy, and set a small fire, the AP reports. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said embassy staff were unharmed but he accused Iraqi authorities of failing to protect the building, reports Reuters. "What has happened is completely unacceptable and the government strongly condemns these attacks," he said. "The government is in contact with high-level Iraqi representatives to express our dismay." Iraq's Foreign Ministry said there would be an "urgent investigation."

Supporters of Shia cleric Moktada al-Sadr also protested at the Swedish embassy last month after Salwan Momika, an Iraqi Christian with refugee status in Sweden, burned pages of the Koran outside Sweden's largest mosque. Momika has been linked to Swedish far-right groups, France24 reports. He plans to burn the holy book and an Iraqi flag outside the Stockholm embassy Thursday. Police in Sweden rejected applications for protests where people planned to burn the Koran but they were overruled by courts that said the protests were protected by freedom of speech laws, Reuters reports. The Swedish government is looking into changing the law to ban such protests when they could endanger the country's security. (More Iraq stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.