Moscow Tries to Stir It in Sweden

For the fourth day in a row, riots have raged in the Swedish cities of Linköping, Norrköping, Stockholm, Örebro, Malmö, and Landskrone after far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, who heads the Danish anti-immigration party Stram Kurs (“Hard Course”) publicly burned a Koran, saying he would do it again in other cities across Sweden.

Some 100 opponents of Stram Kurs started a protest, some of them throwing stones at police and setting fire to parked cars, tyres, and trash cans, according to the Swedish police. As a result of the riots, 16 policemen were injured and 25 protesters were detained.

On Sunday night, the police were again forced to disperse protests in one district in Malmö, where several fires were deliberately lit. Police forces were confronted with stones, firecrackers, and fireworks. The city of Malmö was not chosen by chance. It is where the largest share of Muslims live compared to all other Swedish cities.

Stram Kurs leader Rasmus Paludan has provoked incidents through similar stunts in previous years. In 2020, he was arrested in France before being deported. Five more activists of his movement were detained in Belgium on charges of inciting hatred. In the 2019 elections, the Hard Course party failed to get into the Danish parliament (Folketing) gaining a mere 1.8% of the popular vote.

The anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant Stram Kurs is continuing its tour across Swedish cities. The sole purpose of such events is to incite hatred and destabilise the political situation in the country. Who is financing this?

Police spokesman for southern Sweden, Kim Hild, said on Saturday that the police would not revoke permission for a demonstration by Stram Kurs supporters because in Sweden, where the right to freedom of speech is protected, such a move would require very serious reasons.

It is not a coincidence that the riots occur against the backdrop of reports that Sweden could join NATO and at a time when Moscow has voiced threats to Stockholm over its chosen course of action. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said that, “if Sweden and Finland join NATO, this could lead to “negative implications” for peace in northern Europe.”

Similar anti-migration and anti-islam events, with some “support” from Russia, were observed in virtually all EU nations in the wake of the EU’s 2015 migration crisis. It is a known fact that the Kremlin finances right-wing radical and extremist movements in the EU.

It is high time that our politicians woke up to third party interference against the stability of our democracy, and cracked down on unwelcome and un-European offences against the values and principles that we stand for.