Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

An anti-NATO rally in Stockholm, which included a Koran-burning event, was not allowed to evacuate.

Sweden bans Quran-burning rally
Sweden bans Quran-burning rally


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Swedish police did not allow a scheduled rally on Wednesday because it included the burning of the Koran. The decision to stop the rally is being described as an unusual move by the Swedish authorities.

The ban comes in the wake of a similar rally in January in which a far-right politician set fire to the Koran, Muslims’ holiest book, near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Another protest was planned at the same place on Thursday.

But Sweden’s security service, Sapo, said the threat of attacks against Sweden had increased since the rally in January. And for that reason another protest demonstration was not allowed. “After the Koran-burning incident outside the Turkish embassy in January 2023, it is clear that the attacks against Swedish society at large, but also against Sweden and Swedish interests abroad and against Swedish citizens,” the police said in their decision. The risks have also increased.”

Sweden’s bid for NATO membership in jeopardy

The anti-Swedish protests against the Koran burning incident last month were not limited to the Muslim world. After this incident, Turkey expressed a strong reaction and canceled the visit of the Swedish defense minister to Ankara. During this visit, Sweden’s accession to NATO was to be discussed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan said that Sweden should no longer expect support from Turkey. The Koran burning incident has increased diplomatic difficulties for Sweden. It needs Turkey’s support to join NATO because the unanimous support of all member states is necessary for a new member to join this Western military alliance.

Erdogan said that Turkey will not support Sweden’s joining NATO as long as the burning of the Koran is allowed. In Sweden, demonstrations are rarely banned by national law and tradition.

The rise of the far right in Sweden

Swedish police said Thursday’s rally was not called by the far-right politician who burned the Koran in January, but by an unknown organization. According to news agency AFP, the purpose of the rally was to protest against Sweden’s bid to become a NATO member.

Police have defended their decision to allow earlier rallies to burn Qurans, but said the situation has changed dramatically. At least five people were killed in a 2017 terrorist attack by suspected Islamists in Stockholm.

In Sweden, the rise of far-right and neo-Nazi organizations has accelerated in recent years. One of them, the Sweden Democrats, became the second largest party in Sweden’s parliament in last year’s elections. It is also the largest party in the right-wing ruling bloc, although it is not recognized as part of the government.

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