For the third time in a row, Norway’s state police force has become targets in demonstrations where they’ve had to protect a Norwegian anti-Islamist group out demonstrating itself. The latest incident was in Oslo over the weekend, when counter-demonstrators went on the attack.
“We’re worried,” Torgeir Brenden, who led police in Oslo during Saturday’s demonstration in front of the Parliament by the small group called Sian. Groups opposed to both racism and Sian ended up turning their fury on the police instead.
“We can’t tolerate attacks on the police,” Brenden added. The police are charged with enforcing freedom of expression in Norway, also Sian’s inflammatory anti-Islam rhetoric. When counter-demonstrators reacted, it appeared to be directed against the police more than Sian.
By Saturday evening, around 30 people had been detained for disturbing the peace. Many of them were juveniles, and they’d hung around long after Sian’s demonstration ended, protesting the heavy police presence that protected the roughly 20 Sian demonstrators.
The Turkish government later filed a complaint with the Norwegian government after one of the Sian demonstrators ripped up a copy of the Koran and spit on it. That had also led to an escalation in what had been a peaceful counter-demonstration on the other side of fences set up to separate the demonstrators and counter-demonstrators. Similar incidents have played out recently in Bergen, at Mortensrud in Oslo and, earlier, in Kristiansand.