Protesters gather following reports that the far-right Danish group Danske Patrioter burned the Quran in Copenhagen.
Hundreds of people in Baghdad have attempted to storm the city’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified area with a number of foreign embassies and the seat of Iraq’s government.
Nearly 1,000 protesters were dispersed by security forces early on Saturday, in reaction to reports of a Quran burning that took place a day earlier by a far-right group in front of the Iraqi embassy in Denmark.
Demonstrators chanted in support of influential Iraqi Shia religious and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr, carrying images of the leader and flags associated with his movement, alongside the Iraqi flag.
“Yes, yes to the Quran!” shouted the protesters, many of them young men.
Security forces blocked the Jumhuriya bridge leading to the Green Zone, which prevented the protesters from reaching the Danish embassy.
Another protest is planned for later in the day.
According to Danish media reports, the far-right, ultra-nationalist group Danske Patrioter burned a copy of the Quran and an Iraqi flag in front of the Iraqi embassy in Copenhagen and livestreamed the event on Facebook.
In response to the incident in Copenhagen, the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned “in strong and repeated terms, the incident of abuse against the Holy Quran and the flag of the Republic of Iraq in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Denmark”, in a statement on Saturday.
The government urged the international community “to stand urgently and responsibly towards these atrocities that violate social peace and coexistence around the world”.
A separate statement said “We cannot allow to happen again” that which occurred at the Swedish embassy, AFP news agency reported.
The Iraqi government affirmed its “full commitment” to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and said it guarantees “the protection and security provided to diplomatic teams”.
In a separate incident, demonstrators set fire to the headquarters of the humanitarian organisation Danish Refugee Council in the Basrah governorate of Iraq, according to reports by local media and Sky News.
The incidents come two days after Iraqis took to storming and burning the Swedish embassy in Baghdad after a second event was held to desecrate the Quran in Sweden. The embassy was forced to temporarily relocate to Stockholm following the violence.
Iraq’s prime minister cut diplomatic ties with Sweden in protest over the desecration, which also sparked action and condemnation from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.
The Swedish incident was carried out by Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Christian Iraqi refugee in Sweden, who also burned pages of a Quran on June 28, the earlier incident also prompting mass protests in Iraq and condemnation from Muslim-majority countries.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA