Norway town to build toilets for beggars

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Photo: Alex Bricov (File)
12:45 CEST+02:00
Kristiansand’s town council voted on Wednesday to install toilet and shower facilities that can be used by beggars operating on the streets of the town in southern Norway.

After a heated debated, the motion was passed by a slim majority of 28 representatives to 25. The town will now set aside 300,000 kroner ($52,500) for the construction of sanitary facilities for beggars.

Two parties, the Conservatives and the Progress Party, were deeply opposed to the move, newspaper Fædrelandsvennen reports.

“The money beggars get in their mugs goes to men in suits who drive them around and decide where to place them,” said Conservative representative Odd Nordmo.

“If we build sanitary facilities for beggars here in the town we are creating possibilities for the establishment of a new Christiania,” he said, referring to a hippie-like commune in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Progress Party group leader Tor S. Utsogn was in full agreement.

“An ethnically segregated toilet like this will undoubtedly attract beggars,” he said.

“We know that there are Romanian men sitting in cars keeping control over their beggars.”

But Dag Vige, a Liberal Party member and one of the architects of the plan, cited simple human dignity as one of the prime reasons for erecting new facilities.

He laughed off suggestions that the project would attract beggars in increasing numbers.

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“Nobody’s going to come to Kristiansand to go to the toilet. Human dignity is central to this debate,” he said.

After an hour-long debate, the council voted in favour of the proposal, on condition that volunteer groups commit to managing the upkeep of the toilets and showers.

In Wednesday’s session, the councillors also voted in favour of a Christian Democratic Party proposal that will enable the deportation after three months of out-of-work citizens from other countries in the European Economic Area.

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