Just over a week following Qasem Soleimani's death in a US drone strike in Iraq ordered by US President Donald Trump, the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was commemorated at City Hall Square in Copenhagen.
Between 80 and 100 people showed up to commemorate Qasem Soleimani, the Danish newspaper BT reported. The dedication started off with solemn music, after which the attendees tried to light candles in the shelter of their umbrellas.
“I'm here because I simply think it's wrong. Those who have been killed fought [Daesh*], and if you are against terrorism, you have to support these people, not bomb them,” one of the attendees said. “I think it is important to remember these people and support their struggle to rid the world of terrorists in the Middle East”.
“We are here because we see it as a murder of an innocent man, a murder that should not have happened,” another one said, praising Soleimani for his fight against Daesh.
“He has just been responsible for what our religious principles stand for. One must resist injustice. One must resist tyranny,” a woman added.
At the same time, the demonstration sparked criticism among many Danish politicians. Conservative MP Naser Khader called the commemoration “deeply reprehensible”.
“I’m not saying it should be banned. I’m just critical about them doing it. It’s like commemorating Osama bin Laden”, Khader told Danish Radio. “It’s a lack of respect for all the victims this man had on his conscience.”
Conservative party head and former justice minister Søren Pape Poulsen said he hoped that that the authorities are monitoring the participants.
“We still have people in Denmark who think he’s a martyr to be commemorated,” Poulsen wrote on Facebook. “Why don’t they move to Iran, which is evidently their dream society?”
Some 150 metres from the memorial service, a counter-demonstration was held by the right-wing party Stram Kurs and its leader Rasmus Paludan. On their Facebook page, they described the event as “the celebration of the killing of terrorist Qasem Soleimani”. During the ceremony, Paludan stated that he has come to celebrate the death of the “murderer who killed five Danish soldiers” and proceeded to burn the image of Soleimani and play Denmark's national anthem. Stram Kurs is known in Denmark for its Quran burnings and came very close to gaining a seat in parliament in the 2019 election.
Senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a drone attack on his convoy at Baghdad International Airport on 3 January, on the order of US President Donald Trump. The liquidation the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force led to a stand-off between the US and Iran. In retaliation, Iran conducted an attack on US military facilities in Iraq.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other countries