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Norway: Clashes break out at anti-Islam rally

Rebecca Staudenmaier
August 29, 2020

Tensions in the Norwegian capital came to a head when an anti-Islam protester ripped pages from the Quran. Police used tear gas to keep rival groups separated, arresting nearly 30 people.

Protesters in Oslo
A rally by Islam critics in Oslo was slammed by counter-protesters (pictured)Image: picture-alliance/dpa/NTB scanpix/J. Yngland

Clashes broke out at an anti-Islam rally in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on Saturday, prompting authorities to end the event early. 

The rally, organized by the group Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN), took place near the parliament building. 

Hundreds of counter-protesters also gathered, banging drums and chanting "No racists in our streets," reported news agency DPA. 

The situation came to a head when a female member of SIAN ripped pages from the Quran and spat on them, news agency NTB reported.  

The woman, who has previously been charged and acquitted of hate speech, told counter-protesters: "Look, now I will desecrate the Quran." 

Read more: Norway mosque attacker sentenced to 21 years 'preventive detention'

Nearly 30 arrested 

Clashes then erupted, with counter-protesters throwing eggs at SIAN members and attempting to jump police barricades. 

Some counter-protesters also began kicking a police van and climbing on the hood of the vehicle. 

Authorities used pepper spray and tear gas to keep the rival groups apart, eventually ending the SIAN rally early.  

Police arrested 29 people, several of whom were minors, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported. 

The protest in Norway comes on the heels of a similar incident in the Swedish city of Malmo on Friday, where protesters clashed with police after right-wing extremists burned a copy of the Quran.