World / Europe

1 dead, 3 police hurt in shooting at Copenhagen artist meet

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-02-15 07:18

1 dead, 3 police hurt in shooting at Copenhagen artist meet

Damaged glass is seen at the site of a shooting in Copenhagen, February 14, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Media reports and witnesses on Twitter described the attack, saying between 20 and 40 shots were fired from an automatic weapon. Television footage showed windows of the arts center and cafe riddled with bullet holes.

"The security guards shouted 'Everyone get out!' and we were being pushed out of the room," Helle Merete Brix, organiser of the event, told Reuters. "They tried to shoot their way into the conference room ... I saw one of them running by, wearing a mask. There was no way to tell his face."

Sound technician Palle Vedel told Danish DR news channel that the meeting had been opened by the French ambassador, who praised Denmark for the support following the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

Denmark itself became a target after the publication 10 years ago of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad, images which led to sometimes fatal protests in the Muslim world.

"Before the ambassador even got the opportunity to give the floor to Lars Vilks, the meeting was interrupted when one or more men started shooting at the cafe," Vedel said.

Police said the dead civilian man was 40 years old.

Sweden's security police said Swedish bodyguards were with Vilks at the time of the shooting while authorities in southern Sweden said they were helping Danish police. Sweden is joined to Denmark by bridge and transit across is largely unchecked.

In January, 17 people were killed in France in three days of violence that began when two Islamist gunmen burst into the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, opening fire in revenge for its publication of satirical images of Mohammad.

Vilks stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting Mohammad as a dog which sparked threats from Islamist militant groups.

He has received numerous death threats and has lived under the constant protection of the Swedish police since 2010. Two years ago, an American woman known as Jihad Jane was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to kill him.

French President Francois Hollande said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would go to the Danish capital as soon as possible.

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