World News

Danish youths riot for 7th night, several arrested

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Bands of youths set fire to cars, buses and schools in Denmark on Saturday, the seventh night of rioting and vandalism in the capital Copenhagen and other Danish cities, police said on Sunday.

Four youths were arrested in the capital for suspected arson and at least 24 fires were reported across the country. Several youths were detained in Denmark’s second city Aarhus in Jutland, and in Odense on Funen island.

“It is some of the same groups that have roamed the city for the last couple of nights,” police operations leader Preben Jorgensen told Reuters while inspecting fire damage at Tingbjerg School in the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Hundreds of cars and a number of schools have been vandalised or burned in the past week. Police could give no reason, but said unusually mild weather and the closure of schools for a winter break might have contributed.

Authorities have arrested dozens of youths, predominantly with immigrant backgrounds.

Police said that Saturday night was calmer than earlier in the week.

Social workers said an alleged plot to kill a Danish cartoonist for his drawing two years ago of the Prophet Mohammad might have fuelled the riots. Danish newspapers reprinted the cartoon on Wednesday in protest against the plot.

Ten Danish lawmakers cancelled a four-day trip to Iran on Saturday, two days before their departure, after Iranian protests about the republication of the cartoon.

The Danish Foreign Ministry said parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee dropped the trip after the Iranian parliament demanded an apology because Danish newspapers had reprinted the cartoon, one of several whose publication two years ago caused outrage in Islamic countries.

Most Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammad offensive.

Authorities arrested two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan descent on Tuesday for planning to kill the cartoonist, and 15 Danish newspapers reprinted his drawing on Wednesday in protest against the alleged murder plot.