Far-right politician’s threats to burn Quran sparks weekend of violence in Sweden

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A far-right Danish politician’s threat to burn the Quran and pour “pork blood” on it gave rise to riots in Sweden over the past few days. 

Anti-Muslim and far-right political party Stram Kurs planned to hold a demonstration in the town of Landskrona, but announced a change of venue to the city of Malmo after protesters threw stones and set fires to cars, tires and garbage cans. 

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Kim Hild, a spokesperson for the police in southern Sweden, said that authorities would not revoke permission for the anti-Muslim demonstrations since they had not breached the threshold to deny free speech. 

The right of the protesters “to demonstrate and speak out weighs enormously, heavily and it takes an incredible amount for this to be ignored,” Hild told Swedish news agency TT.

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Swedish police reported as many as 100 young people were involved in Saturday’s violence, which followed a more violent Friday clash between protestors and counter-protesters in the city of Orebro. 

The Orebro protest required riot police to intervene. 

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Similar protests have occurred in other towns and cities, including the capital city of Stockholm. 

Rasmus Paludan, a Danish lawyer who also holds Swedish citizenship and set up the the Stram Kurs party, addressed attendees as protesters hurled stones at him. No one reported any serious injur, but Paludan was struck on the leg by a stone. 

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Paludan established the party, whose name means “Hard Line,” in 2017, but has yet to achieve the 2% threshold needed for representation in the Folketing, Denmark’s parliament. 

The party posts videos on a YouTube channel, which mostly feature party demonstrations. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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