Southern Sweden experienced another night of unrest on Saturday over plans by a far-right anti-Islam political party to burn a Koran, among other things.
Police said up to 100 people, mostly young people, threw rocks, set cars, tires and garbage cans on fire and erected a fence in the town of Landskrona after authorities moved a protest planned by the Danish party Stram Kurs in nearby Malmö, about 45 km (27 miles) to the south.
The situation calmed down in Landskrona on Saturday evening but remained tense, police said, adding that no injuries were reported in the action.
Kim Hild, spokesman for the police in southern Sweden, had said earlier on Saturday that the police would not revoke permission for the Landskrona demonstration organized by the Stram Kurs party because the threshold of freedom of expression for the make is very high in Sweden.
The right of protesters “to protest and speak out weighs enormously, heavily and it takes a lot to ignore,” Hild told Swedish news agency TT.
Since Thursday, clashes have also been reported in Stockholm and the cities of Linkoping and Norrkoping – all places where Stram Kurs have planned or staged protests.
Violent clashes between protesters and counter-protesters erupted in the central town of Orebro on Friday night ahead of Stram Kurs’ plan to burn a Quran there, leaving 12 police officers injured and four police vehicles set on fire.
Video footage and photos of chaotic scenes in Orebro showed burning police cars and protesters throwing rocks and other objects at officers in riot gear.
At Saturday’s protest in a central Malmö park, Stram Kurs leader Rasmus Paludan addressed a few dozen people. A small number of counter-protesters threw rocks at protesters and police were forced to use pepper spray to disperse them.
Paludan himself was reportedly hit in the leg by a rock, Swedish media reported. No serious injuries were reported, police said.
Paludan, a Danish lawyer who also holds Swedish citizenship, established Stram Kurs, or Hard Line, in 2017. It operates on an anti-immigration and anti-Islam agenda.