The riots probably give Paludan exactly what he hoped for: a commotion. “The goal is to turn people against each other,” said Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. “The plan is for people to fall into that trap. Sweden can do better. ‘
Swedish police are trying to calm the rioters. There were already fires in Linköping and Norrköping, southwest of Stockholm, on Thursday. Riots broke out there even before Paludan was able to properly begin his announced burning of the Koran. Police arrested two there.
It was also hit Friday in Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm, and Örebro, 200 kilometers west of the capital. It went wrong in Landskrona as well. There was a riot there on Saturday night for the third day in a row. Paludan was again granted permission there, in the context of freedom of expression, to meet with the burning of the Koran.
Masked youths threw themselves at the newspaper Aftonbladet stones at police, barricaded roads and set fire to tires and cars. To prevent the above, the police chief decided to move the Paludana event, the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) group, to a safer place in Malmö. There, too, anti-fascist activists met a Danish politician with a pronounced dislike of Muslim migrants early in the evening. They tried, including the car, to break through the barrier. The driver was arrested.
Violence against the police
It is striking that the violence during the riots was mainly directed against the police. In Örebro alone on Friday, twelve police officers were taken to hospital with minor injuries and four police vans burned. No one was arrested.
The police do not plan to ban the gathering because it is right “on demonstration and statement is very difficult and should be distinguished,” police spokesman Kim Hild said. Given the events of the past few days, the police plan to engage more funds to prevent the riots.
In 2017, Paludan founded his party Stram Kurs (Hard Course). Despite limited electoral support – the party failed to win seats in Denmark’s 2019 parliamentary elections with 1.8 percent of the vote – Paludan is regularly known for his extreme anti-Islamic views and provocations to attract attention. Paludan also has Swedish citizenship and is now trying to establish himself in that country.
According to Swedish far-right expert Daniel Poohl, the riots are exactly what Paludan was looking for. “He wants to create a situation where in the end it becomes too much for some. The idea is to say: this is how Islam works, “he told a Swedish newspaper Today’s news† “In fact, Rasmus Paludan wants to ban the whole religion.”