UNDERSTAND IT ALL – What’s happening in Sweden, where protests have left at least 40 people injured? – BFM TV

Clashes between demonstrators and security forces have shaken several Swedish cities for a few days in response to rallies organized by a far-right group that burns copies of the Koran in public. Between burnt cars, stone throwing and injured, Sweden has been experiencing a series of violence for several days. A total of 40 people have been injured and 26 people have been arrested in the country since last Thursday due to clashes between law enforcement and protesters. The latter protested against a far-right group that prides itself on burning copies of the Koran during public gatherings. • What demonstrations are we talking about? The violence began at the end of last week in the south of the country. On Thursday, clashes between security forces and demonstrators took place in the cities of Linköping and Norrköping, in response to rallies organized by a far-right group. The clashes continued in the following days in Orebrö, in the center of the country, then in the suburbs of Stockholm and in the south, in Malmö, where police and demonstrators exchanged stone throwing and Molotov cocktails. New rallies were also planned in Linköping and Norrköping by the same far-right group, but they did not give up. Protesters build a burning barricade in Norrkoping, Sweden, April 17, 2022 © Stefan JERREVANG – AFP• What is the “Hard Line” movement, which is behind the protests? The protests are initially organized by a far-right group called in Swedish “Stram Kurs” (“Hard Line” in English), which Openly claims to be anti-Islam and anti-immigration. It is led by Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish trained lawyer, already convicted in Denmark for racist insults. Candidate for the legislative elections in Sweden next September, he does not currently have enough signatures to present himself and is touring the country to mobilize his support. All his rallies target neighborhoods with a large Muslim population where Rasmus Paludan is burning in public copies of the Koran, sacred book in the Muslim religion. These actions, deliberately provocative, have led to numerous counter-demonstrations in recent days. The lawyer, also a youtuber, is not at his first attempt. In 2019, he had already burned a Quran wrapped in bacon. One of his Facebook posts, making a direct link between immigration and crime, had also been blocked by the social network for a month. these clashes, including 26 on the police side and 14 among civilians. Swedish law enforcement said three people were shot and injured, “The police fired several warning shots. Three people appear to have been hit by ricochets and are currently being treated in hospital,” it said. Sunday the police in a press release. 26 people were also arrested Sunday during clashes with the police in Norrköping and Linköping. The material damage is also numerous, although not yet quantified, with various burnt cars or in particular a burnt bus in Malmö, according to the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet. Several fires have also been reported by the police, with in particular a fire starting in a school in Malmö. Why are these demonstrations overflowing? Overwhelmed by the violence of the demonstrations, the police denounced a lack of the presence among the rioters of people “unrelated to the demonstrations”. “Criminal individuals have taken advantage of the situation to use violence,” they said. against the police and justice”. Rescue vehicles and police vehicles were also damaged by demonstrators in Linköping. Police cars set on fire by demonstrators in Orebro, Sweden on April 15, 2022 © Kicki NILSSON – AFPThe situation in Sweden has sparked protests in the Arab world, giving it an international dimension. Iraqi diplomacy summoned the Swedish charge d’affaires, before denouncing the burned copies of the Koran, speaking of an act “provocative for the feelings of Muslims and offensive for what is sacred to them”. Saudi Arabia has also “condemned the actions of certain extremists in Sweden and their provocations against Muslims”, according to its official agency. Juliette Desmonceaux with AFP