The attack on free speech in Copenhagen 14.2.2015
Denmark is on high alert after a gunman in Copenhagen killed one person and injured three guarding secret police officers at a debate on blasphemy and free speech attended by a controversial Swedish cartoonist.
COPENHAGEN — At least one machinegun-man opened fire Saturday on a Copenhagen cultural center, killing a man in what authorities said is a terror attack against a free speech event titled “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression”, featuring a Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, and was one of the speakers at the event.
The cafe was hosting a debate on free speech when the gunmen struck.
Krudttoenden. Cafe event was held to mark the anniversary of the fatwa against controversial author Salman Rushdie.
Police initially believed there had been two suspects, but later said they were searching for a lone gunman.
The Arab looking gunman used the automatic weapon to shoot around 30 shots through the windows of the “Krudttønden” cultural center, which TV footage showed were riddled with bullet holes. The gunman shouted something in Arab and then fled in a carjacked Volkswagen Polo that was found later a few kilometers (miles) away.
The 68-year-old cartoonist Lars Vilks, who attended Saturday’s event escaped unhurt. The French ambassador, Francois Zimeray, who was also present during the attack, was unharmed too and tweeted: “I am still alive in the room!”
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt described it as a “politically motivated” act of terrorism and announced a nationwide manhunt for the gunman who opened fire on the free speech seminar at the Copenhagen café and cultural center “Krudttønden” (“The powder keg”) in an attempt to kill a Swedish artist who had published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed as a dog in 2007 – eight years ago.
Lars Vilks has received numerous death threats and has lived under the constant protection of the Swedish police.
Two years ago, an American woman who called herself Jihad Jane was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to kill him.
In 2010, two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.
Three men were arrested in Gothenburg, Sweden, for plotting to kill Vilks in September 2011.
In September 2007 a $100,000 bounty was placed on Lars Vilks head by then leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq March 2013 Lars Vilks was placed on “most wanted” list by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
After Islamic militants attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris last month, killing 12 people, Vilks told the AP that even fewer organizations were inviting him to give lectures over increased security concerns.
In a statement, French President Francois Hollande called the Copenhagen shooting “deplorable” and said Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt would have the “full solidarity of France in this trial.”
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will travel to Copenhagen as soon as possible.