While Norwegians in a non-coronavirus year dance around in the streets when 'Syttende Mai' (May 17th) comes around, the Swedes approach their national day on June 6th somewhat differently, as The Local found out when we took to the streets of Stockholm for this video from our archive:
Around 150 people gathered in central Oslo to take part in a parade, which was stopped by police as it headed towards the Royal Palace, newspaper VG reported.
“They had a size of about 150, give or take. They were moving around the city centre and at one point crossed Karl Johan (street) towards the palace,” senior police officer Tor Gulbrandsen told VG.
The event was called an “alternative May 17th parade” by Gulbrandsen, in absence of the city’s regular National Day celebrations.
Norway’s current coronavirus restrictions allow parades of up to 200 people provided social distancing is observed. But restrictions in Oslo are significantly tighter, with public assembly limited at 10 people.
- Norway keeps Covid-19 restrictions in place for national day celebrations
- May 17th: A guide to how Norway normally celebrates its national day
“Another event was taking place at the palace. The police therefore chose to stop this alternative parade before it reached Slottsplassen [Palace Square, ed.],” the police officer said.
Participants joined the parade as a protest against Norway’s coronavirus restrictions, VG writes.
The royal family was on the balcony at the palace, in keeping with regular May 17th traditions, as the alternative parade approached the location, police said.
“Things happened calmly, but the police had to clearly communicate with the organisers to prevent them from disrupting the other event,” Gulbrandsen said.
That included using megaphones to inform them that their event was “illegal”.
The parade then moved towards the Egertorget square, by which time the number of participants had dwindled.
“Police were in the area to ensure they did not disrupt other events and have thoroughly documented the behaviour that went on. We must subsequently look at whether there will be stronger response (by police), it is too early to say as of now,” Gulbrandsen told VG.