Swedish artist roughed up by guards over gun sculpture

Sept. 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM
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MALMO, Sweden, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A 73-year-old Swedish artist who was bruised and bloodied by guards who mistook his sculpture for a real pistol said he filed a report against them.

Bengt Andersson said he took his sculpture of a pistol with penis-shaped ammunition to the Ronnquist and Ronnquist gallery in Malmo where he was accosted by bodyguards for artist Lars Vilks as soon as he opened his case to show his work to gallery officials, The Local.se reported Friday.

"I just wanted to show off my art," Andersson said.

The bodyguards were protecting Vilks, who has been the target of numerous death threats since a drawing he made of Islam's Prophet Muhammad was published by Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda in 2007.

"I had no idea that Vilks was there just at then. How was I supposed to know that?" Andersson said.

He said his cuts and bruises were treated at a hospital and he was then taken to a cell and held for 5 hours.

Andersson said he has filed a complaint against the security guards, alleging excessive violence.

Police defended the actions of the guards.

"When they see a weapon they have to intervene like this to protect this subject [Vilks] who is subject to a high level of threat," said Bertil Isberg Jonsson of the Skane County police.

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