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IANS

More than 40 people have been arrested after violent clashes in Sweden between police and people angry at plans by a far-right group to burn copies of the Quran, the media reported.

Three people were injured in Norrkoping on Sunday when officers fired warning shots at rioters, police said.

The violence was sparked by a series of rallies organised by the Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan.

He says he has burned a copy of Islam's holy book and wants to do so again.

Muslims consider the Quran the sacred word of God and view any intentional damage or show of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive, BBC reported.

Saudi Arabia has condemned what it called the "deliberate abuse of the holy Quran by some extremists in Sweden, and provocation and incitement against Muslims".

Iran and Iraq earlier summoned the Swedish ambassadors to lodge protests.

Sweden's national police chief, Anders Thornberg, said he had never seen such violent riots following Sunday's clashes in Norrkoping, which is about 160 km south-west of Stockholm, and nearby Linkoping.

The two cites also witnessed riots on Friday, along with the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby and the western city of Orebro. On Saturday, there was a riot in the southern city of Malmo, BBC reported.

On Monday, police said 26 police officers and 14 members of the public had been injured in the violence and that more than 20 vehicles had been damaged or destroyed.

They said that around 200 people had been involved in the violence, adding they believed it was organised by networks of criminal gangs. Some of the individuals are already known to police and Sweden's security service, Sapo.

Sunday's violence in Norrkoping came after Rasmus Paludan said he planned to hold a rally there. However, he never showed up in the city.

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