Hundreds of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad early Thursday and set fire to parts of the building ahead of a planned demonstration outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm that has angered many in the Muslim world and drawn condemnation from Swedish authorities.

The riot was the latest fallout from a protest in Stockholm late last month in which a man tore up and burned Islam’s holy book outside the central mosque on the first day of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, horrifying Muslims around the world. . Another demonstration was planned in Sweden on Thursday with two people, according to a permit issued by the police, but it was unclear whether they would burn a Koran.

Some Iraqis said they were also worried that the Iraqi flag would be burned.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Tobias Billström, said in a statement that the embassy was vandalized and partially burned in the attack at approximately 2 am local time. Footage shared on social networks showed part of the embassy in flames and people with pieces of the building in their hands.

Iraqi police fired water cannons to disperse the protesters, according to images shared on social media and news reports, and at least 15 protesters were arrested, an Iraqi security official said. A journalism monitoring group said three photojournalists were also arrested while covering the protest and called for their release.

After the protest, the embassy was closed and all staff members were safe in their apartments, an Iraqi foreign ministry official said, adding that no one was inside the embassy during the protest. Mr. Billström confirmed that all employees are safe. Staff members at the Finnish Embassy, ​​which is nearby, were also evacuated and were safe, according to Finnish news agency STT.

The Swedish government planned to summon the charge d’affaires of Iraq in Stockholm to express dismay.

“What happened is completely unacceptable and the government strongly condemns these attacks,” said Mr. Billström. He said Iraqi authorities had an “unquestionable responsibility” to protect diplomatic personnel and had “seriously failed in this responsibility”.

Iraq’s foreign ministry condemned the embassy attack in a statement on Twitter and said the government has ordered the security authorities to conduct an urgent investigation to identify the perpetrators and hold them legally accountable.

Sweden in recent years has wrestled with whether to allow protests involving the burning of the Koran, which have heightened diplomatic tensions during its bid to join NATO. Sweden’s foreign ministry called last month’s burning Islamophobic and said they disagreed with it, while officials warned the Quran burning could affect national security and foreign policy.

While the Swedish authorities have denied several permits for anti-Crane protests before, citing disruptions to public order, courts overruled those refusals, saying that they do not have enough reasons to stop the actions. Swedish police said they charged the man who burned the Koran with agitating against an ethnic or national group.

The man, Salwan Momika, described himself in interviews as an Iraqi refugee seeking to ban the Koran because he disagreed with its teachings.

In Stockholm in January, Rasmus Paludan, a dual Danish-Swedish national, led a protest in which he burned the holy book, angering Turkish officials. Turkey, which for a time blocked Sweden’s offer to NATO amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, expressed displeasure at the desecration of the Koran.

Turkey has apparently cleared the way for Sweden to join NATO, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the country’s parliament will make the final decision, and Sweden needs to take more steps to win Turkish support.

The sudden protest in Baghdad was staged at the instigation of Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric who demanded that the Iraqi government break diplomatic relations with Sweden. He said the Scandinavian country was “hostile” to Islam.

In a statement published on Mr. al-Sadr’s Twitter account, he said that Sweden was breaking diplomatic and political norms by allowing the burning of the Koran and the Iraqi flag. If the Iraqi flag were to be burned, he wrote, the Iraqi government “should not settle for a denunciation, because that indicates weakness and submission.”

Ali Jaafar Ghailan, a 40-year-old resident of Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood, was one of the protesters at the embassy.

“Sweden allowed the burning of Koran, so we will burn all their interests in Iraq if they repeat their action,” he said. “We, the followers of the Sadrist movement, are determined to put an end to this farce.”

A host of other Muslim countries also condemned the burning of the Koran in Sweden.

The Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said further Twitter earlier this month that while the country appointed a new ambassador to Sweden, it would refrain from sending him in protest against the burning of the Koran. Morocco summoned Sweden’s representative in its capital, Rabat, and recalled its ambassador to Sweden, according to its state news agency.

Egypt called the burning of the Koran “dishonorable act,” and Saudi Arabia said that such “hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification.” that of Malaysia minister of foreign affairs said the desecration of the holy book during a major holiday was “offensive to Muslims worldwide.”

Falih Hassan contributed reporting from Baghdad.

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