Stockholm News was present when the artist Lars Vilks was attacked today during a speech he held at Uppsala university. The theme for the speech was that "art can not be anything but cruel"
Vilks is controversial after portraying Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed on animals’ bodies. He has also drawn an image of a Jewish person as a pig. A couple of years ago ha drew the Prophet Mohammed on a dog’s body which led to death threats from Muslim extremists.
Today’s speech was almost an hour delayed because of long queues and airport-like security measures. All bags were checked and bodies and clothes scanned with metal detectors. Already half an hour before the speech started; one could sense that something could happen. Some people screamed in a very aggressive way at Vilks when he went out to check the premises.
During the first minutes of the speech Vilks showed other controversial pieces of arts, for example a picture of Jesus on the cross, lowered in urine. He also talked about people in for example Poland who have been prosecuted for art that provocted religious people.
It was when Vilks started to show a film by the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera, where the Prophet Mohammed went to a gay bar that some people started to yell. After a couple of minutes one person ran to the stage and hit Vilks in the head. Then the turmoil started. Several people ran towards the stage and at least one more person managed to attack Vilks. Lars Vilks is not reported to be seriously injured. A police officer was also abused and two people have been arrested.
For a few minutes it was a bit chaotic before the police got a grip of the situation and asked people to leave. The rest of the speech could not be held. When that was announced, about 30-40 people started to cheer and sing, obviously happy that the meeting had been stopped. It was a shame for many reasons. Whatever one thinks about this kind of arts, the promised question time after the speech would have been very interesting.