UK
14/02/2015 16:42 GMT | Updated 14/02/2015 20:59 GMT

Copenhagen Shooting At Free Speech Event Kills One And Injures Police Officers

Danish police are hunting a man who killed killed a civilian and injured three police officers in a shooting at a meeting about blasphemy and freedom of speech - organised by an artist who has faced threats for caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed.

In what has been called an attempt to repeat the massacre of Charlie Hebdo staff last month, shots were fired at a cafe in Copenhagen on Saturday afternoon at an event organised by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who caricatured the Prophet Mohammad in 2007.

The French ambassador to Denmark Francois Zimeray, who attended the event, ominously tweeted:

The TV2 channel reported there were some 30 bullet holes in the window of the Krudttoenden cafe.

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Bullet holes at the scene

Danish police, who initially said they were searching for two suspects, issued a picture of the main suspect this evening, taken on street cameras near to where the getaway car, a VW Polo, was later found dumped.

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The image of the suspect

The police said the victim who was killed was a 40-year-old man.

The event was called: "Arts, blasphemy and freedom of speech."

Mr Zimerary told AFP the attackers had "the same intention" as those who murdered cartoonists working for French magazine Charlie Hebdo on

He said: "They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as Charlie Hebdo except they didn't manage to get in.

Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200.

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Officers at a cordon

"Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. 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."

Helle Merete Brix, one of the organisers of the event, said that Vilks was present at the event but not injured. When the artist is in Denmark, he receives police protection.

"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."

"I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting. Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie," Niels Ivar Larsen, another organiser, told Danish television.

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A victim on a stretcher

Vilks was reportedly on the same terrorist hitlist as murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier.

Terrorism expert Magnus Rainstorm said Vilks was evacuated by a backdoor.

Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the TV2 channel that he saw two wounded people.

Vilks, 68, has faced several attempted attacks and death threats after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007.

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Lars Vilks

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.

After Islamic militants attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris last month, killing 12 people, Vilks said that even fewer organizations were inviting him to give lectures over increased security concerns.

Vilks also said he thought Sweden's SAPO security service, which deploys bodyguards to protect him, would step up the security around him.

"This will create fear among people on a whole different level than we're used to," he said. "Charlie Hebdo was a small oasis. Not many dared do what they did."

According to larsvilks.com, the event was marking the anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. As well as Mr Vilks, Inna Chevchenko from the feminist protest group Femen was also due to attend.

It added that the Lars Vilks Committee, set up to support the cartoonist and freedom of expression, awarded its 2014 freedom prize to Charlie Hebdo last October.