Protesters Reportedly Set Swedish Embassy in Baghdad on Fire Amid Quran Burning Backlash
09:40 20.07.2023 (Updated: 10:50 03.08.2023)
© AP Photo / Khalil SenosiA Muslim reads the Quran at the Jamia mosque, during the of holy month of Ramadan in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, April 13, 2022
© AP Photo / Khalil Senosi
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Hundreds of protesters reportedly stormed the Swedish embassy early Thursday in Baghdad, Iraq, and set it on fire amid backlash over recent Quran burnings.
Iraqi nationals in Baghdad had been rallying outside the Swedish embassy in protest of the recent Quran-burning incident in Stockholm, and after it was reported on Wednesday that Swedish police issued another permit for a "public gathering" on Thursday.
Reports detailed that Swedish organizers, the same involved in a June incident, intended to burn both the Quran and the Iraqi flag.
Unconfirmed footage shared across social media appeared to capture individuals at the embassy as smoke billowed and protesters appeared to be cheering on the events. Citing insiders, US media reported people gathered at the building at about 1 a.m. local time before storming the facility an hour later.
It's unclear if any officials were inside the embassy when protesters entered the grounds, or whether any embassy staffers sustained any injures. However, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has relayed to media that staffers were "safe" and in "regular contact" with senior officials.
The latest comes as the Swedish government has taken under consideration whether the burning of any holy texts should be illegal since recent incidents have prompted threats to the nation's security.
On June 28, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, a protest given clearance by Swedish police took place outside Stockholm's main mosque, during which the Quran was burned. Amid subsequent backlash, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson later said the authorization was "lawful but inappropriate."