HELSINKI (AP) — Swedish police say they fired warning shots during a riot in an eastern town to disperse protesters angry at protests by a Danish anti-Islam group in Sweden in recent days . Three people were slightly injured during the clashes.
A crowd of around 150 people threw stones at police officers and police vehicles and set cars on fire. Police said they responded with warning shots and ‘three people appear to have been hit by ricochets’ and were hospitalized in Norrkoping, which has a population of around 130,000 and is around 160 kilometers (100 miles) to the south -west of Stockholm.
“The three injured are being arrested on suspicion of a crime,” police said, adding that none of them had serious injuries.
A photographer from the Swedish news agency TT present at the scene reported that several riot police were seen carrying an injured man to an ambulance.
The riot broke out following meetings by Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan and Quran burnings planned in various Swedish towns since Thursday.
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Paludan and his Stram Kurs party had planned a protest in Norrköping on Sunday but he never showed up in the city, Swedish media reported. Unrest was also reported in the nearby town of Linkoping.
Paludan said on the party’s Facebook page that he had decided to call off Sunday’s protests in the two localities because the Swedish authorities in the region had “shown that they are completely incapable of protecting themselves and me.” If I were seriously injured or killed due to insufficient police authority, it would be very sad for Swedes, Danes and other northerners.
Besides Norrkoping and Linkoping, unrest and violent clashes have been reported in Stockholm, Orebro, Landskrona and Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, over the past three days.
Violent clashes between protesters and counter-protesters erupted in the central town of Orebro on Friday night ahead of Paludan’s plan to burn a Quran there, leaving 12 police officers injured and four police vehicles set on fire.
In Landskrona, in southern Sweden, a few hundred people, mostly young people, threw stones and set cars, tires and garbage cans on fire. They also erected a barrier that obstructed traffic on Saturday evening. Similar unrest took place in neighboring Malmö, where a city bus was set on fire, among other places, on Saturday evening.
Paludan, a Danish lawyer who also holds Swedish citizenship, established Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line” in 2017. The party’s website, which is part of an anti-immigration and anti-Islam agenda, states that “Stram Kurs is the most patriotic political party in Denmark.
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