A group of protesters burns down the Swedish embassy in Baghdad | International
A group of protesters set fire to the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, at dawn on Thursday. The event occurred during the last protest over the burning of a Koran in the Scandinavian country at the end of June and the permit for another similar act scheduled for this Thursday in Stockholm. No victims have been registered. The Swedish Foreign Ministry has condemned the attack and reported that its staff are safe.
The attack was carried out by dozens of protesters, allegedly followers of the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr. They accessed the embassy facilities, on the call Green area from the Iraqi capital, known for housing government institutions and the headquarters of foreign diplomatic missions.
Sweden has forcefully condemned the attack on its diplomatic headquarters in Baghdad. “The attacks on the Swedish embassy in Iraq are completely unacceptable. This is the second time in a short time that this has happened. Iraq has a responsibility to protect the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. The government will summon the top Iraqi diplomat to Sweden today," according to a statement from Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.
The Government of Iraq has also condemned "in the strongest terms" this attack, which it considers one more within "the attacks against diplomatic headquarters and threats to their security." The Executive has given instructions to carry out "an urgent investigation and take the necessary security measures to identify the perpetrators of this act and hold them accountable in accordance with the law."
According to information published on social networks, the protesters threw torches inside the Swedish legation in response to the burning of the holy book of Muslims in Stockholm by radical elements. "We have not waited for the morning, we have entered at dawn, we have set fire to the Swedish Embassy," said a young protester in Baghdad who chanted the name of the Shiite leader. In the surroundings of the diplomatic building, some demonstrators showed copies of the Koran and portraits of Sadr. "We have mobilized to denounce the burning of a Koran, which is nothing more than love and faith," another protester named Hassan Ahmed told the same agency. "We demand the Swedish government and the Iraqi government to stop these types of initiatives," he added.
Several Iraqi civil defense trucks went to the embassy to extinguish the flames, which caused significant smoke. A contingent of riot police was also deployed, resorting to the use of water cannons to contain the groups of people that were surrounding the building.
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The Swedish authorities have granted a new permit for a protest act this Thursday in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm. Its organizer, Salwan Momika, plans to burn another Koran and an Iraqi flag. Momika is an Iraqi refugee residing in the Scandinavian country and was also responsible for burning another holy book on June 28, the same day that Eid al Adha or Feast of Sacrifice was celebrated, one of the most relevant Muslim religious festivities. . His motivation then was to try to blow up the Nordic country's accession to the Atlantic Alliance, a process that culminated in the last NATO summit in Vilnius, in mid-July, but which at that time was still pending approval.
This act sparked a wave of international criticism and anger in the Muslim community. For the States that profess this religion in the majority, the responsibility for the incident falls on Sweden because it authorized the protest under the protection of freedom of expression.
According to the local newspaper Iraqi NewsThe Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, stressed to his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström, "the need to avoid repeating acts offensive to Islam and the Holy Qur'an."
This type of burning of holy books has happened before in Sweden and other European countries, sometimes at the initiative of far-right movements. In the past they have generated demonstrations and diplomatic tensions.
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