- Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced an abrupt end to all remaining lockdown rules on Saturday afternoon
- When thousands of people turned out to celebrate at their favorite bars and nightclubs, it started celebrating with much fanfare.
- There was an impromptu street party in Stavanger, a mass brawl in Tnsberg and at least 50 fights in Oslo.
- Neither vaccination status nor negative test result is required for any location, which can lead to blockbusting queues
- Police in Oslo received 190 reports of disturbances, slightly less than they expected on New Year’s Eve
Norway has lifted all lockdown restrictions with less than 24 hours’ notice, sparking rowdy festivities, including massive brawls and fun exiting nightclub queues after the 561-day ban ended. -Have fun.
The Norwegian government suddenly announced on Friday that it was going to lift the remaining social distancing requirements at 4 p.m. on Saturday, meaning nightclubs could open and restaurants and bars filled to capacity.
“It has been 561 days since Norway introduced the toughest peacetime measures,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference. ‘Now it’s time to return to normal daily life.’
The PM’s unexpected unlocking followed with fanfare the following afternoon, which lasted until late Saturday, with a sudden wave of violence in Stavanger, a mass brawl in Tnsberg and at least 50 fights reported to police in Oslo.
Neither vaccination status nor negative test results were required for any of the venues, leading to blockbusting queues outside nightclubs and restaurants with dinner reservations as people flocked back to their favorite hangouts.
In Tonsberg, police were called after a group of about ten young men (pictured) began scraping outside a nightclub near the pier. Luckily no one was seriously injured and the police arrested a 20 year old man
Fireworks during a street party in Stavanger on Saturday evening. Thousands moved out across the country after the government announced an end to social distancing, meaning nightclubs could open and bars and restaurants filled to capacity for the first time in more than 500 days
Fireworks were set off in Stavanger, a town on the west coast, on Saturday night after the prime minister lifted the lockdown rules
Smoke is released during a sudden rush on the streets of Stavanger on Saturday night
People take to the streets to celebrate the end of COVID-19 restrictions in Oslo on Saturday. Police in Oslo received no less than 190 reports of disturbances, a little less than what they expected to deal with on New Year’s Eve.
An ambulance takes care of the injured as they reopen from coronavirus restrictions in Trondheim, Norway
The queues for clubs in Trondheim were so long that many fainted while waiting to go inside.
Police in the city reported a generally good-natured atmosphere, with revelers singing the national anthem in the streets.
In Tonsberg, police were called after a group of about ten young men began scraping outside a nightclub near the pier. Luckily no one was seriously injured and the police arrested a 20-year-old man.
The chaos in the streets prompted an angry response from some, including Johann Hoeg Hannes, the manager of the nightclub in Oslo, who said the prime minister had given more warnings.
‘It will be exactly what I predicted,’ he told VG newspaper. “It was a life-threatening situation in the city as they (government) did not give us notice at least a few days back. It was a dangerous situation as the police said that all the places were packed.
However, other employees were grateful to be back in business despite the challenges.
‘It was a bit late in the evening, but I’m so glad we opened. We are very happy with the evening in general,’ said Adrian Snein, general manager at Heidi’s Beer Bar in Oslo.
‘It was a little sudden – a little too much – but it turned out fine. It’s just a matter of getting used to and we expected the whole of Norway to be out!’
Among other incidents, Norwegian media reported that police received an alert on a bus in Oslo for a man carrying a weapon and fainting while waiting to go to a pub in Trondheim.
‘There was a much higher workload than in the summer. Oslo Police spokesman Rune Heckelstrand told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that there were already a lot of people in the afternoon and this continued through the night.