Swedish police have said officers wounded three people in the eastern city of Norrköping as demonstrators protested against plans by a far-right group to burn copies of the Qur’an.
“Police fired several warning shots. Three people appear to have been hit by ricochets and are currently being treated in hospital,” police said in a statement.
The three who were injured were under arrest, police said, adding that their condition was not known.
Sunday’s clashes in Norrköping were the second there in four days. On the first occasion, the demonstrators had protested against a rally by the anti-immigration and anti-Islam group Hard Line, led by the Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan.
On Sunday, they rallied again in protest at another gathering, which Paludan abandoned in the end.
Four people were arrested among the approximately 150 participants, as protesters threw stones at officers and cars were set alight, police said.
According to health services quoted by the local news agency TT, 10 people were hospitalised with minor injuries following clashes in Norrköping and similar unrest in the neighbouring town of Linköping, where Hard Line also abandoned a demonstration.
Paludan, 40, who intends to stand in Swedish legislative elections in September but does not yet have the necessary number of signatures to secure his candidature, is on a “tour” of Sweden. He is visiting neighbourhoods with large Muslim populations where he wants to burn copies of the Qur’an.
A lawyer and YouTuber, he has previously been convicted of racist insults. In 2019, he burned a Qur’an wrapped in bacon and was blocked for a month by Facebook after a post conflating immigration and crime.
On Saturday, one of his rallies was moved from a district of Landskrona to an isolated car park in southern Malmö, a large neighbouring city, but a car tried to force through the protective barriers. The driver was arrested and Paludan then burned a Qur’an.
Hard Line’s tour has sparked several clashes between the police and counter-protesters across the Scandinavian country in recent days. On Thursday and Friday, about 12 police officers were injured in the clashes.
Following the incidents, Iraq’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the Swedish chargé d’affaires in Baghdad on Sunday.
It said the affair could have “serious repercussions” on “relations between Sweden and Muslims in general, both Muslim and Arab countries and Muslim communities in Europe”.
In November 2020, Paludan was arrested in France and deported. Five other activists were arrested in Belgium shortly afterwards, accused of wanting to “spread hatred” by burning a Qur’an in Brussels.