A group of demonstrators has set fire in the early hours of Thursday to the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, after demonstrations that have been taking place throughout the week in protest against the burning of copies of the Koran in the European country.
The protest in front of the Swedish Embassy has been organized by members of the ‘Sadrist’ movement, whose leader is the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, whom they venerate as a supreme leader.
Despite the presence of riot police, protesters have managed to storm the building and set it on fire, the Al Arabiya network reported.
According to social media reports, the protesters entered the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, the embassy sector, and threw torches inside the Swedish legation, in response to a burning of the Muslim holy book by radical elements in Stockholm in late June.
In addition, Swedish authorities granted a new permit for today, when another Quran burning is expected to take place outside the Iraqi embassy.
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The Swedish Foreign Ministry has reported that all employees of the Embassy in the Iraqi capital are safe, and reminded the country’s authorities that it is their responsibility to protect diplomatic missions and their staff.
“We are informed of the situation. Our embassy staff are safe and the Foreign Ministry is in constant contact with them,” the diplomatic portfolio said.
Local police have had to resort to the use of water blasts to contain groups of people surrounding the embassy in Baghdad.
The burning of Islam’s holy book prompted several Arab and Muslim countries to recall their ambassadors for consultations or summon Swedish representatives and sparked a wave of calls for a boycott of Swedish products, as well as criticism of the Swedish authorities for authorizing the demonstration knowing that a copy of the Koran was to be set on fire.
-Thailand News (TN)