Danish police arrest almost 30 people in 8th night of youth violence

COPENHAGEN, Denmark: Nearly 30 people were arrested for setting fires to buildings, cars and trash bins in an eight consecutive night of youth violence in Danish cities, mostly in immigrant neighborhoods, police said Monday.

The violence appears to be subsiding after peaking over the weekend, police said.

It was not clear what triggered the unrest, which started on Feb. 10. Some observers say the youth are frustrated over police harassment and the reprinting of a cartoon lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

Danish newspapers reproduced the drawing on Wednesday to show their commitment to free speech after police foiled an alleged plot to kill the cartoonist who created it.

About 90 fires were reported late Sunday in Copenhagen and other Danish cities, mostly small fires in trash bins and cars, police said. No one was injured.

Firefighters had more than twice as many fires to deal with on Friday when the vandalism appears to have climaxed.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday said the rioting youths and their parents bore the responsibility for the unrest, and said they should expect no sympathy from society.

He noted that Denmark’s freedom of speech includes cartoonists, and that anger over a drawing did not give anyone “the right to burn others’ cars or to burn down schools or institutions.”

On Saturday, Danish lawmakers canceled a planned trip to Iran after the Foreign Policy Committee received a letter from Iran demanding that lawmakers condemned the cartoon reprints.

The all-party committee said in a statement that the trip was called off because its members “can’t or will not apologize for the drawings.”

The 12 original cartoons.
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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday February 18, 2008.
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