At least 10 people were arrested in southern Sweden and several police officers were injured in violence that broke out after an anti-Muslim Danish politician was prevented from attending a rally that burned the Koran, police said Saturday.
The protesters threw stones at the police late Friday and burned tires on the streets of Malmo. According to police and local media, the violence escalated over the course of the evening.
The demonstration of around 300 people was linked to an incident in which protesters burned a copy of the Islamic holy book, police spokesman Rickard Lundqvist told Swedish tabloid Expressen.
Between 10 and 20 protesters were arrested and “all released” late Friday, police spokesman Patric Fors told AFP.
The violence subsided on Saturday morning.
Rasmus Paludan, who heads the far-right Danish anti-immigration party Hard Line, was due to travel to Malmö to speak at the Friday event, which was held on the same day as the weekly Muslim Sabbath prayers.
However, the authorities prevented Paludan’s arrival by announcing that he was banned from entering Sweden for two years. He was later arrested near Malmo.
“We suspect he would break the law in Sweden,” Malmo police spokesman Calle Persson told AFP.
“There was also a risk that his behavior … posed a threat to society.”
But his supporters continued the rally, at which six people were arrested for inciting racial hatred.
Paludan later posted damning news on Facebook.
“Sent back and banned from Sweden for two years. However, rapists and murderers are always welcome!” he wrote.
Paludan caught media attention last year for burning a Koran wrapped in bacon – a meat that is anathema to Muslims.