One 40 year old man is dead and at least two police officers are wounded after a Charlie Hebdo-style attack on a cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a debate on free speech in Europe was taking place. The debate was entitled “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” and Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who was under police protection, was in the cafe and scheduled to speak.
Vilks, a Swedish artist known for his provocative drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, has faced several attempted attacks and death threats after he depicted the Prophet as a dog in 2007.
As a result, he is guarded by police any time he visits Denmark. Some are speculating he was the intended target of the attack.
Sweden’s security police said Swedish bodyguards were with Vilks at the time of the shooting.
The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, was also attending the debate, and provided eyewitness reports of the attack.
“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as [the 7 January attack on] Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Zimeray told AFP.
“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200. Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor,” the ambassador added.
“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.”