Swedish flag burnt at rallies in the Middle East over Koran-burning

Photo: PAP/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

Protesters in Yemen, Iraq and Jordan demonstrated on Monday against a Koran-burning incident in Sweden.

The burning of the Koran was carried out by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, during a protest in Stockholm last Saturday. The politician, who also has Swedish citizenship, was protesting both against Turkey and against Sweden's bid to join NATO.

In response to the demonstration in Stockholm, protesters in Jordan burned the Swedish flag in front of the embassy. Thousands of protesters rallied in the streets of Yemen, while demonstrators also gathered outside the Swedish consulate in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

In the past, Paludan has held several demonstrations during which he burned the Koran. In the permit he obtained from police, it reads his protest was held against Islam and what it sees as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attempting to influence the freedom of expression in Sweden.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom commented, that Islamophobic provocations are appalling.

“Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish Government, or myself, support the opinions expressed,” Billstrom expressed on Twitter.

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