Tommy Robinson is spotted at Muslim protest at London’s Swedish embassy over Koran-burning stunts in Sweden and Denmark
- English Defence League founder was spotted at the London protest on Saturday
- Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, stood in front of barriers
- Protest held following Koran-burning stunts by far-right activist Rasmus Paludan
Tommy Robinson has appeared at a Muslim protest outside the Swedish embassy in London, which was organised following a series of Koran-burning stunts by a far-right activist last week.
The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was flanked by police officers and other observers as he spoke to a handful of protestors among the large crowd standing behind metal barriers, on Saturday.
Hundreds turned out for the protest, which was prompted by far-right activist Rasmus Paludan burning a Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, last Saturday, after being granted permission by authorities.
English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson was spotted at a protest outside the Swedish embassy in London on Saturday afternoon
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was seen taking a video at the protest
Robinson claimed to be there as an observer and later posted a video to his Twitter account
The convicted extremist vowed to continue this action until Sweden is admitted to NATO.
He repeated the stunt outside a mosque in Copenhagen on Friday, further infuriating the Muslim world.
The provocative demonstration is said to have endangered Sweden’s bid to join the security organisation after Turkey postponed planned accession talks.
Far-right journalist Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm last week.
His involvement has led to unproven claims that Russia could be behind the row to prevent Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Hundreds turned out for the protest, which was prompted by far-right activist Rasmus Paludan burning a Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, last Saturday, after being granted permission to do so by authorities
Robinson stood on the other side of metal barriers holding back hundreds of protestors
Robinson observed in his video, which was later posted to social media: ‘They are angry about the Koran burning. I’ve come to ask them a couple of questions.’
At today’s protest in London, Robinson took a video of a large crowd shouting outside the Swedish embassy in London, which he posted to his Twitter account.
He said: ‘They are angry about the Koran burning. I’ve come to ask them a couple of questions.’
The protestors chanted in unison while holding up placards inscribed with: ‘Burning our Koran is not a freedom of expression. It is a message of hatred and racism.’
This latest protest in London follows similar ones in predominantly Muslim countries held this week to denounce the recent desecration of the Koran.
Protests have been held in Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon.
In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, police stopped some demonstrators trying to march towards the Swedish embassy.
Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan burns a copy of Kuran in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen on Friday
The activist is pictured burning another Koran outside a mosque in Noerrebro, Copenhagen, on Friday
The convicted extremist repeated the protest today in Denmark and has vowed to do so every day until Sweden is admitted to NATO
About 12,000 Islamists from the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party rallied in Lahore, the capital of the eastern Punjab province, to denounce the desecration of the Koran in the two European countries.
In his speech to the demonstrators, Saad Rizvi, the head of the TLP, asked the government to lodge a strong protest with Sweden and the Netherlands so that such incidents do not happen again.
Similar rallies were also held in the southern city of Karachi and in the north west.
In the Iranian capital Tehran, hundreds of people marched after Friday prayers during which they burned a Swedish flag.
People react as far-right politician Paludan burns a Koran copy in front of a mosque in Copenhagen
Police secure the area in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen ahead of Friday’s protest
In Beirut, about 200 angry protesters burned the flags of Sweden and the Netherlands outside the blue-domed Mohammed Al-Amin mosque in central Martyrs Square.
Small protests over the Koran burning also took place in Bahrain.
Following the initial Koran burning, the Danish ambassador was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry where Turkish officials ‘strongly condemned the permission given to this provocative act which clearly constitutes a hate crime’, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Iranians burn Sweden’s flag during an anti-Sweden rally after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran
In Pakistan, thousands took to the street to protest Sweden’s decision to allow the demonstration
Taliban security forces stand guard as Afghans shout slogans during a protest against the burning of the Koran
The ambassador was told that ‘Denmark’s attitude is unacceptable’ and that Turkey expected that the permission be revoked, according to Anadolu.
Danish foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Danish media that the incident would not change Denmark’s ‘good relationship’ with Turkey, adding that Copenhagen intended to talk to Ankara about Denmark’s laws upholding freedoms.
‘Our task now is to talk to Turkey about how the conditions are in Denmark with our open democracy, and that there is a difference between Denmark as a country – and our people as such – and then about individual people who have strongly divergent views,’ Mr Lokke Rasmussen said.
Paludan’s action last week caused fury in Turkey, which criticised Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration to take place outside the Turkish embassy.
Turkey’s president cast serious doubt on NATO’s expansion, warning Sweden not to expect support for its membership bid in the military alliance.
The nation also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that would have discussed Sweden and Finland’s NATO’s membership, saying such a meeting would have been ‘meaningless’.
Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-standing policies of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Protesters hold up a bloodstained effigy of Paludan during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan
His burning of the Quran sparked counter-protests in Turkey, where demonstrators burned his photograph and a Swedish flag
Rasmus Paludan is pictured burning the Koran outside of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last week
NATO member Turkey, which is pressing the two countries to crack down on Kurdish militants and other groups it considers terrorists, has not yet endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from all existing alliance members.
Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Koran.
The action has caused international outrage, with Morocco saying it was ‘astonished’ the authorities had allowed it to take place ‘in front of the Swedish forces of order’.
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Jakarta said ‘the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance’, adding that ‘freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner’.
Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm
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