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Danish police tighten borders due to concerns over Quran burnings

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The Local ([email protected])
Danish police tighten borders due to concerns over Quran burnings
Denmark has temporarily tightened its borders citing security concerns related to the recent Quran burnings in Copenhagen. File photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

Controls on Denmark’s borders with Germany and Sweden will be tightened in response to security concerns related to recent demonstrations in Copenhagen where protesters burned the Quran.

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The move by police to tighten controls on the borders was announced by the Ministry of Justice in a statement late on Thursday. Both the German and Swedish borders are affected, police have confirmed.

“Based on recent Quran burnings and the development of the current threat level, police will temporarily ramp up efforts on Denmark’s internal borders,” the ministry said.

The temporary measure comes into effect immediately and will remain in place until at least August 10th.

The National Police (Rigspolitiet) made the decision to increase border controls based on the recommendation of the national police intelligence service, PET, according to the Justice Ministry statement.

A higher frequency of spot checks on borders will be a feature of the tightened controls.

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“A PET has informed us, recent Quran burnings have affected the current threat level. Based on continual changes to the threat level, authorities have today concluded that it is currently necessary to increase focus on who travels into Denmark to confront the concrete and current threats Denmark faces,” the ministry said.

Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said “the government and authorities are following the situation closely”.

On Sunday, the government said it would explore legal means of stopping protests involving the burning of holy texts in certain circumstances but the move faces criticism in parliament.

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PET told news wire Ritzau on Thursday that several police districts had received reports of text messages calling for revenge in response to the recent Quran burnings in Denmark and Sweden.

“As previously confirmed, it is PET's assessment that the negative attention that is currently on Denmark affects security significance and PET can see these effects on the current threat level,” the agency said.

“PET continually monitors the threat level and initiates the measures that are deemed necessary,” it said in relation to the reported text messages.

PET told Ritzau on Friday morning that the terror threat against Denmark is still rated at four out of five or “serious”.

“As such, there is no change in the threat level itself,” the agency said.

The Danish decision comes after Sweden's government said on Tuesday it intended to "intensify" border controls due to a worsened security situation in the wake of protests involving desecrations of the Quran in Sweden.

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