HELSINKI — Swedish police said they fired warning shots during a riot in an eastern city to disperse protesters angry about demonstrations over the past several days by a Danish anti-Islam group in Sweden. Three people suffered minor injuries during the clashes.
About 150 people attacked officers and vehicles with stones and then set fires to their cars. Police said they responded by firing warning shots and “three people seem to have been hit by ricochets” and were hospitalized in Norrkoping, which has around 130,000 residents and is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Stockholm.
“All three injured are arrested on suspicion of crime,” police said, adding that none of them had serious injuries.
The scene was captured by TT, a photographer from the Swedish news agency.
The riot broke out following Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan’s meetings and planned Quran burnings in various Swedish cities and towns since Thursday.
Swedish media reported that Paludan and Stram Kurs had planned to hold a protest in Norrkoping this Sunday, but he didn’t show up. In Linkoping, there was also unrest.
Paludan said on the party’s Facebook page that he decided to cancel Sunday’s demonstrations in the two locations as the Swedish authorities in the region have “shown that they are completely incapable of protecting themselves and me. If I was seriously injured or killed due to the inadequacy of the police authority, then it would be very sad for Swedes, Danes and other northerners.”
Other than Linkoping and Norrkoping, violent clashes and disturbances were also reported in Stockholm and Orebro in the past three day.
On Friday evening, violent clashes between demonstrators and counterprotesters erupted in the central city of Orebro before Paludan’s plan to burn a Quran there, leaving 12 police officers injured and four police vehicles set ablaze.
A few hundred young men set fire to cars, tires, and dustbins in Landskrona (south Sweden) on Saturday. A barrier was also built to block traffic Saturday night. A similar unrest occurred in Malmo nearby, where, among others, a bus was set on fire late Saturday.
Paludan, a Danish lawyer who also holds Swedish citizenship, set up Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line” in 2017. The website of the party, which runs on an anti-immigration and anti-Islam agenda, says “Stram Kurs is the most patriotic political party in Denmark.”
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