Clashes in several Swedish cities sparked by the burning of a Holy Quran by far-right, anti-immigrant groups continued for a fourth day.
According to local media reports, three people in the eastern city of Norrkoping were injured and required medical treatment after being hit by warning shots fired by police at rioters on Sunday.
Swedish police said trash cans, buses, and cars were all set ablaze in a series of incidents in the southern city of Malmo on Saturday. At least 17 people were arrested during clashes between police and protesters angry over a far-right group’s plan to burn copies of the Quran.
The violence began on Thursday after Danish-Swedish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who leads the Stram Kurs, or Hard Line, said he had burned Islam’s holy book, and planned to repeat the action.
The violence in Norrkoping on Sunday erupted after Paludan said he planned to hold another rally there, which of course prompted counter-demonstrators to gather there as well.
Paludan’s rally often seen as provocative as they feature the desecration of the Holy Quran, however, celebrated as a free-speech exercise by Paludan and his hardline party, known for its rigid anti-immigrant stance.
On Monday, police said that 26 police officers and 14 members of the public were injured and 20 vehicles damaged in riots on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at places where far-right groups planned events, including in the suburbs of Stockholm and in the cities of Linkoping and Norrkoping.
Iran and Iraq have summoned the Swedish ambassadors to lodge protests regarding the incident. Iraqi foreign ministry warned that the incident could have serious repercussions on relations between Sweden and Muslims in general, both Muslim and Arab countries, and Muslim communities in Europe.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia condemned the Quran burning incident, calling it a deliberate abuse of the Holy Quran by some extremists in Sweden and a provocation and incitement against Muslims.
A similar incident had occurred before in 2020. At that time demonstrators protested Stram Kurs’s plan to burn the copies of the Quran resulted in violence, where protesters set cars on fire and damage the front of shops in clashes in Malmo.
In the same year, Paludan was sentenced to a month in prison in Denmark for a range of offenses including racism and attempting to plot the burning of the Quran in other European countries including France and Belgium.