By Le Figaro with AFP
Posted 6 hours ago, just updated
An Iraqi holds the Koran during a demonstration in front of the Swedish embassy in Baghdad January 23, 2023. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP
Several hundred Iraqis demonstrated this Monday, January 23, disapproving of the gesture made by Dane Rasmus Paludan.
A police officer and seven protesters were injured in Baghdad on Monday January 23 during a demonstration organized in front of the Swedish embassy to protest the burning of a Koran in Stockholm, a security source has told us.
The spills near the embassy
“Between 400 and 500 people” demonstrated away from the Scandinavian country’s diplomatic mission as they tried to approach the building, an Interior Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
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When the police pushed them back, clashes broke out. “Protesters threw stones and the police used their batons,” he added, adding that seven protesters and one police officer were injured. The protesters then dispersed, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
“No to Sweden, yes to the Koran”
The rally was organized by pro-Iranian groups very active in Iraq, a country with a large Muslim majority. With the slogan “No to Sweden, yes to the Koran”, the demonstrators wanted to raise their voices two days after the Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Koran in Stockholm. He wanted to denounce Sweden’s negotiations with Turkey over NATO.
The Swedish police previously considered that the constitution and freedom of demonstration and freedom of expression in Sweden did not justify banning this demonstration in the name of public order. Permission for this anti-Islam demonstration sparked a diplomatic incident with Turkey, and many other Muslim countries expressed their outrage.
“The burning of books that are sacred to many is a deeply disrespectful act. It’s disgusting,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. Referring to an act of “provocation,” the official hinted that it was a “deliberate desire to influence ongoing discussions about Sweden and Finland joining NATO” and to “weaken” transatlantic unity.
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