Violent riots erupted in the Danish capital on Sunday when the right-wing politician and Islam critic Rasmus Paludan, leader of the party Stram Kurs (Strict Course), held a demonstration in the district of Nørrebro, Denmark’s Radio reports.
An angry crowd of counter-protesters showed up and attacked Paludan’s demonstration, and when the police intervened, they were attacked as well.
“We had been expecting counter-protests, but not that it would lead to the type of unrest that we have seen today”, said Copenhagen police chief Jørgen Bergen Skov at a press conference in the evening, while the riots were still ongoing.
People threw, among other things, paving stones, bicycles and plastic chairs against the police, and footage from Nørrebro shows how cars and other property are ablaze.
The Police used tear gas and drew weapons, however, without firing any shots.
On Monday morning, the police announced that 15 people had been arrested during Sunday’s riots, which also spread to other districts in Copenhagen.
Kvällsposten states that bystanders were provoked when Rasmus Paludan and a party colleague threw a Quran back and forth and demonstratively dropped it several times.
“We were playing with the Quran for about two minutes before two people who looked like Somalis attacked me. One of them took the Quran”, Paludan told Ekstrabladet.
It is not the first time that Rasmus Paludan demonstrates in an area where many Muslims live, and he has previously caused quite a storm by burning the Quran.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweeted that he dissociates himself from Paladins “pointless provocations”, but urged people to meet him with arguments rather than violence.
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