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Swedish embassy in Baghdad stormed by protesters over planned Koran burning | World News

Protesters angered by the planned burning of a copy of the Koran in Stockholm have stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad and lit a fire.

Videos shared on social media showed demonstrators climbing over a fence into the compound, waving flags and signs showing the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric and politician, Muqtada al Sadr.

Images also showed a building identified as the embassy in flames and protesters holding copies of the Koran in the air.

Footage later showed smoke rising from a building in the complex and protesters standing on its roof.

Protesters at the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Pic: AP
Image:
Protesters at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Pic: AP

A protester holds up a copy of the Koran as smoke rises from the Swedish embassy
Image:
A protester holds up a copy of the Koran as smoke rises from the Swedish embassy

Protesters gather near the Swedish embassy in Baghdad hours after the embassy was stormed and set on fire
Image:
Protesters gather near the Swedish embassy in Baghdad hours after the embassy was stormed and set on fire

The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement all staff were safe.

“We condemn all attacks on diplomats and staff from international organisations,” it said.

“Attacks on embassies and diplomats constitute a serious violation of the Vienna Convention.

“Iraqi authorities have the responsibility to protect diplomatic missions and diplomatic staff.”

Iraq’s foreign ministry also issued a statement condemning the attack.

“The Iraqi government has instructed the competent security authorities to conduct an urgent investigation and take the necessary security measures in order to uncover the circumstances of the incident and identify the perpetrators of this act and hold them accountable according to the law,” it said.

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The protest took place after police in Sweden reportedly granted an application for a demonstration to be held on Thursday outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm – during which two demonstrators planned to burn a copy of the Koran and the Iraq flag.

For Muslims, the burning of the Koran represents a blasphemous desecration of their religion’s holy text.

In late June, Muqtada al Sadr called for protests against Sweden and the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador after a copy of the Koran was burned in Stockholm by an Iraqi man.

Two major protests took place outside the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in the aftermath of that Koran burning, with protesters breaching the embassy grounds on one occasion.

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