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Norwegian police clash with counter-demonstrators at Koran-burning event

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected] • 24 Apr, 2022 Updated Sun 24 Apr 2022 10:51 CEST
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A photo of a Koran, the sacred scripture of Islam. Photo: Unsplash

Norwegian police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration on Saturday afternoon, after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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The anti-Muslim organisation "Sian" held the demonstration in Sandefjord, which is about 90 kilometres south of Oslo, where they burned the Koran on Saturday afternoon.

Between 300 and 400 counter-protesters turned up and clashed with police.

"Right now it's a little unpredictable here. There are a number of gatherings with people who push towards the blockade, and the police have had to use gas against them", station manager Siw Thokle at Sandefjord police station said on Saturday afternoon.

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Sian began their demonstration at 3pm and police interrupted it at 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon.

"For the sake of the safety of those involved...the police considered it necessary to end the demonstration that Sian carried out in Sandefjord today", police station chief in Sandefjord, Siw Thokle, told NRK.

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Sian's own video footage from the demonstration showed stones and eggs being thrown at its members.

Police chief Thokle told news agency NTB that one counter-demonstrator got over the fence that was set up around the Sian members, during the burning of the Koran. That person was immediately arrested by the police. Thockle said on Saturday afternoon that she did not have figures on how many in total were arrested.

Thokle told news agency NTB that Sian leader Lars Thorsen had announced earlier that the Koran would be burned.

"Basically, it is not a criminal offence to burn the Koran, and we therefore have no plans to intervene against it. Work is now being done to calm the mood," Thokle said.

She emphasised that the police were present in large numbers and they had not received reports that anyone was injured.

Koran-burning, which Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Danish far-right party Stram Kurs has been behind in Sweden, has led to unrest in several Swedish cities recently.

During the Easter weekend in Sweden, around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included burning the Koran.

Swedish police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Riots over Koran burning test Swedish tolerance

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Ritzau/The Local 2022/04/24 10:51

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