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Norway police ban Koran burning protest after Turkey summons Oslo envoy

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Norwegian police on Thursday banned a planned anti-Islam protest including the burning of a copy of the Koran this week for security reasons, hours after the Turkish foreign ministry summoned Norway’s ambassador to complain.

A group of protesters planned to burn a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Oslo on Friday, police said, echoing similar demonstrations last month in Sweden and Denmark.

“Burning the Koran remains a legal way to express political views in Norway. But this event cannot be carried out for security reasons,” Oslo police said in a statement, citing intelligence it had received.

Earlier on Thursday, Ankara strongly condemned the anti-Islam group’s plans, which it said were a “provocative act”, a source from the Turkish foreign ministry said, adding that the ministry had asked for the demonstration to be called off.

Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Turkey had raised the planned demonstration in a meeting.

“Our ambassador referred to the constitutional right to freedom of expression in Norway, and added that the Norwegian government neither supports nor is involved with the planned demonstration,” said a ministry spokesperson.

The police can only ban a demonstration if there is a danger to the public.

A protest including the burning a copy of Koran last month near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by an anti-immigrant Danish-Swedish politician from the far-right fringe drew strong condemnation from Ankara.

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine, but faced unexpected objections from Turkey and have since sought to win its support.

Sweden said on Thursday it would tighten laws covering membership of terrorist organisations.

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