Social unrest in Copenhagen: far-right politician conducts Quran burning

Peaceful Assembly

During the month of April 2019, the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, and in particular the Nørrebro neighbourhood experienced social unrest. Danish police were called to intervene in planned demonstrations by Rasmus Paludan, an extremist far-right group with a criminal record under anti-racism laws. The demonstrations organised by the group included the burning of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in areas where minority ethnic communities reside. 

Counter-demonstrations took place where anger was also directed at the police. Cobblestones were thrown, reported the Danish police, and small fires were lit in waste containers and cars. Dozens of arrests were made. 

Further demonstrations by Paludan were planned, but the police announced that further demonstrations were not permitted in specified areas of the city for a number of days, citing a “risk to public peace”.

Paludan’s rhetoric and methods were strongly criticised by leading politicians, including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen, and Morten Østergaard, leader of the opposition Social Liberal party.