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Danish Youth Continue Week of Riots

A wave of arson attacks, rioting and vandalism continued for a sixth night in a row in Denmark as small groups of youths set fire to cars, garbage cans and doorways across the country.

Firemen working under police protection as they tackle the fire in a burning car which was set on fire in Copenhagen on Feb. 15, 2008

Denmark's justice minister has vowed zero tolerance for rioting youth

No people were injured in the attacks that continued early in the morning on Saturday, Feb. 16. The riots have been attributed by police mainly to groups with an immigration background.

"In Copenhagen there were 28 cars set on fire, 35 dumpsters and 14 garbage fires in the streets," Copenhagen police chief inspector Lau Thytesen told the AFP news agency.

Five arrested suspects were due to face a custodial judge on Saturday. Some 50 people have been arrested in the past week.

Danish newspapers

The protests started before newspapers reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed

Justice Minister Lene Espersen has called for tough measures against the rioting youths. Earlier in the week, police and fire fighters were confronted with stone throwing and Molotov cocktails in the capital.

On Friday a 15-year-old was sentenced to two weeks in custody because he had spoken out on public television for a continuation of the riots. The youths, who have acted in small groups with no apparent organization, have not explicitly spoken out about their motive.

The riots, which had broken out before the renewed dispute over the controversial Mohammed cartoons published in numerous Danish newspapers, are thought to be connected to new regulations allowing police to conduct random searches for weapons in parts of Copenhagen without suspicion.

"When police choose to stop everyone with Arab features or the wrong skin color while they let other people pass by, it's not about a specific effort anymore. It's about racism," Rasmus Lingnau Amossen, who was among the participants of a peaceful demonstration on Friday, told daily Politiken.

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