Gun attack on free speech event in Denmark leaves one dead

Published: February 14, 2015
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Policemen secure the area around a building in Copenhagen, Denmark, where shots were fired on February 14, 2015 outside the venue of a debate held on art, blasphemy and free speech. PHOTO: AFP

Policemen secure the area around a building in Copenhagen, Denmark, where shots were fired on February 14, 2015 outside the venue of a debate held on art, blasphemy and free speech. PHOTO: AFP

Policemen secure the area around a building in Copenhagen, Denmark, where shots were fired on February 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP Policemen secure the area around a building in Copenhagen, Denmark, where shots were fired on February 14, 2015 outside the venue of a debate held on art, blasphemy and free speech. PHOTO: AFP

COPENHAGEN: At least one person was killed and three police officers were wounded when unidentified assailants fired on a building in Copenhagen on Saturday which was being attended by the French Ambassdor to Denmark and Swedish artist who once drew sacrilegious cartoons.

Two assailants, who opened fire on the venue, fled in a car. The car, a Volkswagen Polo, was later found abandoned near the scene of the attack.

“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as (the January 7 attack on) Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Ambassador Francois Zimeray said by telephone.

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was also attending the debate. Vilks had stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which sparked threats from militant groups. He has since lived under heavy security.

Three police officers were reported wounded outside the building, Danish media reported, quoting eyewitnesses.

Zimeray said earlier on Twitter that he was not harmed.

“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200,” he told AFP.

“Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we’re staying inside because it’s still dangerous. The attackers haven’t been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood.”

A Femen activist, Inna Shevshenko, said on Twitter that there were several dozen people in the room.

Police and security officials declined comment when contacted by AFP.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the attack, saying in a statement that France “remains by the side of the Danish authorties and people in the fight against terrorism.”

The French president’s office said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was headed to the scene.

A Danish police spokesperson later told journalists that they are investigating the shooting as a “terror act.”

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Baddi Maga
    Feb 15, 2015 - 1:00AM

    Ongoing Incidents like above is why “Islamophobia” exists all over the world. Recommend

  • umiff
    Feb 15, 2015 - 3:28AM

    Dear ambassador Francois Zimeray did you condemn the brutally killings of three muslims students in United States of America? You can write ”sill alive” but not any single word for those innocent students in USA? Why is the western politicians and the media silence on that issue? Kill hundred thousands of innocent people in Iraq, Afghan, Jogoslavia, Japan, Libiya, Pakistan’s tribeal areas, Morocco, Bosnia, Yeman doesn’t matter even if they were Christen, Muslims, Hindus, buddhist, Jewish. You western politicians are responsiable fo hatred between religious group. Because you started own created war against muslims. Now you are suffering and who is paying the poor , innocent, women, men, children, YOU are the real culprits.Recommend

  • woody
    Feb 15, 2015 - 6:26AM

    @umiff: The three students who died in the USA happened to be Muslim – they weren’t killed because they were Muslim … it’s one of those Elephant in the Room things that Muslims refuse to see. Would you be making the same observation if the students were Hindu, Jewish, Christian? Recommend

  • AL
    Feb 16, 2015 - 1:00AM

    @umiff:
    There’s been tons of coverage in the western media about the Chapel Hill shootings. And why would the ambassador mention it? He mentioned this incident because he was there.Recommend

  • zainab
    Feb 16, 2015 - 1:18PM

    @woody: if they were Jewish, western media would have been all over it for day and months to come. if you disagree then i am afraid you are the one not seeing the elephant in the room.and have been badly duped by the western media corporation. Recommend

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