Victoria Media – Further Edition

Protesters set fire to Swedish embassy in Baghdad

3 min read

Hundreds of people have stormed Sweden’s embassy in Iraq, scaling the walls of the complex and torching the building. They were protesting the second planned burning of the Quran in Sweden in under a month. Iraq has also ordered the expulsion of Sweden’s ambassador. Swedish officials condemned the attack and confirmed that all Baghdad embassy staff were safe.

Sweden’s police denied several applications earlier this year for protests which were expected to include burning the Quran. But the country’s courts ruled the protests should be allowed to go ahead, citing free speech laws.

Thursday’s demonstration was called by supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to protest against the second planned Quran burning in Sweden in weeks, according to posts in a popular Telegram group linked to the influential cleric and other pro-Sadr media.

Al-Sahhaf: A directive to withdraw the Iraqi embassy in Sweden and inform the Swedish ambassador to leave Iraq

The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Al-Sahhaf, announced on Thursday, that directives have been issued to withdraw the Iraqi embassy in Sweden and inform the Swedish embassy to leave Iraqi territory.

Al-Sahhaf told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that “it was directed to withdraw the Iraqi embassy in Sweden and inform the Swedish ambassador to leave Iraq.”

The media office of the Prime Minister confirmed, earlier today, Thursday, that the emergency meeting, which was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, condemned the burning of the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, while indicating that the Iraqi government had informed its Swedish counterpart to go to sever diplomatic relations in the event of a recurrence Incident of burning the Holy Quran.”

Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström on the storming of the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad

At 2 am this morning local time, violent protesters stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad. The Embassy office was occupied, vandalised and set on fire.

A similar incident occurred less than a month ago. What has happened is unacceptable and the Government condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms.

Iraqi authorities have an unequivocal obligation to protect diplomatic missions and diplomatic staff in accordance with the Vienna Convention. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities have failed to fulfil this obligation.

The Government is in communication with high-level Iraqi representatives to express its dismay. The Iraqi Chargé d’Affaires in Stockholm has been summoned to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Fortunately, the staff at the Swedish Embassy were able to move to safety. The Government is now reviewing what further measures need to be taken.


The United States strongly condemns the attack on the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad in the early hours of July 20.  Freedom of peaceful assembly is an essential hallmark of democracy, but what occurred last night was an unlawful act of violence.

It is unacceptable that Iraqi Security Forces did not act to prevent protestors from breaching the Swedish Embassy compound for a second time and damaging it.  We are in contact with our Swedish partners and have offered our support.

Foreign missions should not be targets of violence.  We call on the Government of Iraq to honor its international obligations to protect all diplomatic missions in Iraq against any intrusion or damage, as required by international law.

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