Riots and clashes erupted in an immigrant neighborhood in Sweden’s third-largest city after a notorious anti-Islam activist burned another copy of the Quran in another protest.
Authorities in the southern coastal city of Malmö said dozens of cars, including in an underground garage, were set on fire, and rioters threw stones at them. They described the events that occurred last September 3rd and lasted overnight as “a violent riot.”
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Police said the riots started after Iraqi refugee and anti-Islam activist Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Quran on September 3rd, and an angry mob tried to stop him. At least three people were imprisoned, according to the authorities.
These riots continued into early September 4th, with crowds of young people setting fire to tires and debris and some throwing electric scooters, bicycles, and barriers in Malmö’s Rosengard neighborhood, which has seen similar clashes in the past. Several banners were also put up, condemning the latest Quran-burning protest.
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“I understand that a public gathering like this arouses strong emotions, but we cannot tolerate disturbances and violent expressions like those we saw on Sunday afternoon,” senior police officer Petra Stenkula said regarding the clashes at Malmö.
“It is extremely regrettable to once again see violence and vandalism at Rosengard,” she added.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also condemned the riots in Malmö during a news conference.
Swedes, are your principles negotiable?
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“Regardless of the reason behind these riots, the car fires, the harassment, violence against police officers, ... regardless of the reason, I think that all Swedes find this completely unacceptable,” Ulf Kristersson said.
Momika gained prominence after leading a series of anti-Islam protests, mainly in Stockholm, where he publicly burned copies of the Quran. Although the Swedish police allowed these protests, citing freedom of speech, the Swedish government announced that it would investigate the possibility of allowing authorities to reject permits for protests over national security concerns.
Where’s the military?
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The Quran burnings sparked outrage across the Muslim world, with the Swedish Embassy in Iraq being stormed and burned down by protesters last July.