Qu’ran-burning anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan and his followers have been given the green light by Swedish police to carry out more demonstrations, despite prior events leading to large-scale riots over Easter.
Paludan and his group Stram Kurs (Hard Line), were allowed to hold demonstrations in Gothenburg, Borås and Trollhättan on Thursday where they set copies of the Islamic Qu’ran on fire and several people were arrested trying to assault police and Paludan himself.
In Borås, Paludan held his demonstration at the Stadsparken and the anti-Islam activist was accompanied by a large contingent of police according to a reporter on the scene from Sweden’s public television broadcaster SVT.
The event at the park, which is partially flanked by the river Viskan, saw protestors jump into the water in an effort to get to Paludan himself, while others threw stones and rocks at him and police. Eight people were arrested during the event, one for attempted assault. Around 500 people were said to have turned up to the demonstration.
Over a Hundred Police Officers Injured During Swedish Qur'an Riots https://t.co/EL40t3O3BN
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In Trollhättan six people were arrested for disturbing public order during the demonstration. In Gothenburg, around a hundred people showed up for the demonstration and two were arrested.
One of those arrested was a 35-year-old man who jumped over a barrier but police spokesman Christer Fuxborg stated the event was largely peaceful.
Paludan and his group had previously been denied the ability to hold demonstrations after prior demonstrations sparked large-scale multiple-day riots over Easter last month that led to over a hundred Swedish police officers becoming injured due to clashes with locals throwing rocks and stones and other objects.
In reaction to Paludan’s activities, some have called for Qu’ran burning to be made illegal in Sweden, while a poll found that around a third of Swedes were for banning offensive political demonstrations entirely.
Susanne Rappmann, Bishop of the Diocese of Gothenburg released a statement on Paludan’s activities this week saying the demonstrations were “Islamophobic hate attacks against Muslims and the Qu’ran.”
“Freedom of speech is an inalienable part of our democratic society, but to use it to sow hatred and division is to abuse it and threaten religious freedom,” the Bishop said in a statement that was also signed by two Muslim organisations.