Unrest sparked by far-right demos continues in Sweden
Unrest has broken out in southern Sweden despite police moving a rally by an anti-Islam far-right group to a new location as a preventative measure.
Scuffles were reported in the southern town of Landskrona after a demonstration scheduled there by the Danish right-wing party Stram Kurs party was moved to the nearby city of Malmo, some 27 miles south.
Up to 100 mostly young people threw stones, set cars, tyres and dustbins on fire, and put up a barrier fence that obstructed traffic, Swedish police said.
The situation had calmed down in Landskrona by Saturday evening but remains tense, police said, adding no injuries were reported in the action.
On Friday evening, violent clashes between demonstrators and counter-protesters erupted in the central city of Orebro ahead Stram Kurs’ plan to burn a Koran there, leaving 12 police officers injured and four police vehicles set on fire.
Video footage and photos from chaotic scenes in Orebro showed burning police cars and protesters throwing stones and other objects at police officers in riot gear.
Kim Hild, a spokeswoman for police in southern Sweden, said that police would not revoke permission for the Landskrona demonstration because the threshold for doing that is very high in Sweden, which values 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”, Ms Hild told the Swedish news agency TT.
The demonstration took place on Saturday evening in a central park in Malmo, where Stram Kurs’ leader Rasmus Paludan addressed a few dozen people.
A small number of counter-protesters threw stones at demonstrators and police were forced to use pepper spray to disperse them.
Mr Paludan himself was reported to have been hit by a stone on his leg, Swedish media said. No serious injuries were reported.
Since Thursday, clashes have been reported also in Stockholm and in the cities of Linkoping and Norrkoping – all locations where Stram Kurs either planned or had demonstrations.
Mr 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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