Old unrelated video of riots in Sweden goes viral in the wake of recent Quran burning

By: Arron Williams
July 5 2023

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Old unrelated video of riots in Sweden goes viral in the wake of recent Quran burning


The Verdict Misleading

The video is from 2022 and does not show protests following the burning of the Quran in June 2023.

Claim ID 4957d1c1


Social media users have shared a video that shows riots in Sweden over the burning of a Quran. The video shows cars on fire and many police officers gathered. The captions of the video read, “Riots in Sweden over alleged burning of Quran copies” and “Far-Right group’s move sparks street protests & violence.” The footage has recently gone viral against the backdrop of a recent incident in which a Quran was desecrated in June 2023. However, the footage lacks context, and the recent virality may result in it being misinterpreted as showing recent events.

Reuters reports that on June 28, during a protest outside Stockholm’s central mosque, a man wiped his shoes on a copy of the Quran, tore out pages, put bacon in it, and burned it. Another protester spoke through a megaphone at the same time. Swedish police granted permission for the protest after courts overruled decisions rejecting applications for anti-Quran demonstrations, stating that they infringed on freedom of speech. Police later charged the man with agitation against an ethnic group.

In Fact

The video footage is from 2022, and the riots shown are not related to the recent Quran burning in June 2023. 

The shared video shows the logo for the Hindustan Times, and the article containing the video – published on April 18, 2022 – can still be found on the Hindustan Times website. The article notes that the footage is from 17 April and was shot in Norrkoping. Reuters also published an article on the same date with a similar video of riots in Norrkoping. The videos of the riots are from 2022 and are unrelated to the events in June 2023.

According to the Reuters article, counter-protests and clashes with police occurred on 14 April 2022 and lasted for several days. In some places, the counter-protesters attacked police and burnt vehicles, with three counter-protesters injured by police bullets. The counter-protests were in response to Quran burnings and planned demonstrations by Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan. Earlier in January 2023, as reported by The Guardian, Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Quran as part of a protest in Stockholm outside the Turkish embassy.

However, there is no evidence of riots in Sweden following the Quran burning on June 28.

The Verdict

The video does not depict protests following the burning of the Quran in June 2023. The video is from 2022. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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