Another terror attack on free speech in the style of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, only this time with a far smaller casualty rate, took place yesterday during a symposium on free speech in Copenhagen:
One man was killed and three policemen were wounded Saturday in a shooting in Copenhagen where a cartoonist known for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad was holding an event about free speech.
The Danish PET security service said in a statement the circumstances surrounding the shooting “indicate that we are talking about a terror attack.”
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt also referred to the incident as a terror attack, saying in a statement that “Denmark has today been hit by a cynical act of violence. Everything leads us to believe that the shooting was a political attack and therefore a terrorist act.”
Copenhagen police confirmed that a 40-year-old man was killed and three officers were injured. Two suspected gunmen fled the scene in a dark Volkswagen Polo and were at large.
Police spokesman Henrik Blandebjerg confirmed that three colleagues at the event were also shot.
The cafe in northern Copenhagen, known for its jazz concerts, was hosting an event titled “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression” when the shots were fired.
Helle Merete Brix, one of the organizers of the event, told The Associated Press that Vilks was present at the event but not injured.
“I saw a masked man running past,” she said. “A couple of police officers were injured.”
“I clearly consider this as an attack on Lars Vilks,” she added, saying she was ushered away with Vilks by one of the Danish police guards that he gets whenever he is in Denmark.
This is not the first time Vilks has been in harm’s way: The 68-year-old Swedish artist has faced several attempted attacks and death threats after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog eight years ago.
A Pennsylvania woman last year got a 10-year prison term for a plot to kill Vilks. In 2010 two brothers tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.
The French ambassador to Denmark, François Zimeray, was also present during today’s attack. The ambassador tweeted that he was “still alive” following the shooting.
Shortly afterwards the police released a statement saying they were only looking for a lone gunman, and not two as previously reported. The police released a CCTV picture of the gunman.
As I’m typing this (2 a.m. Israel time) I have Sky News on in the background and they are reporting that there has been another shooting incident, this time in the vicinity of the main Copenhagen synagogue. It appears that there have casualties in this second incident too:
What is certainly true is this:
A Charlie Hebdo journalist says “We are all Danish tonight“.
Tomorrow will he amend that to “We are all Jewish today” too?