Stockholm: Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has condemned the unrest that has engulfed several cities across the country following anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rallies organized by Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, Swedish media reported on Monday.
Last Thursday, Paludan and his anti-immigration political party scheduled a demonstration that included burning a copy of the Muslim holy book in the Swedish city of Linkoping with the permission of local authorities. The police had to intervene as Muslim counter-protesters stepped in, attacking officers and setting police cars ablaze. According to Andersson, in Linkoping and several other cities, where similar clashes occurred, a total of 44 people have been arrested.
“I will make it very clear, those attacking the Swedish police, attack the Swedish democratic society. The perpetrators must be arrested, prosecuted and serve a sentence in prison,” Andersson said to Aftonbladet newspaper in a letter.
She claimed being disgusted by Paludan’s hateful views, but stressed that it was “unacceptable, irresponsible and illegal” to respond to them with violence.
“Over the last few days, we witnessed terrible sights in many cities of Sweden. The police officers who wished to celebrate Easter with their families in a peaceful atmosphere were forced to protect laws and freedom of speech, while risking their lives,” Andersson added.
The police have the evidence to assume that the unrest was organized by criminal groups, she said, adding that the demonstrations were joined by local Muslim communities.
Paludan has the record of spurring massive discontent by publicly burning Quran as a manifestation of his anti-Muslim views. He calls for banning Islam in Denmark and deporting all people of non-Western origin who received shelter in the country.