Police in Norway reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes on Sunday, including massive clashes in the Nordic country’s large cities on streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs as people celebrated the end of COVID-19 restrictions. was filled with
Norway’s government suddenly announced on Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be lifted from Saturday and life would return to normal in the nation of 5.3 million.
The unexpected announcement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg to release coronavirus restrictions late Friday the next day took many in Norway by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital Oslo and elsewhere in the country on Saturday.
Rowdy festivities across Norway by hundreds of citizens began on Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday. Police said unrest was reported in several places, including the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim, while the situation was worst in Oslo.
Long lines were seen outside Oslo’s nightclubs, bars and restaurants late Saturday and police registered at least 50 fights and disturbances during the night. Neither vaccination status certificates nor negative test results are required to enter such places in Norway.
Johann Hoeg Hannes, an angry nightclub manager in Oslo, told Norwegian newspaper VG: “That’s what I predicted would happen.” “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 the place was packed.”
Among other incidents, Norwegian media reported that police received an alert about a man carrying a weapon on a bus in Oslo and that people fainted while waiting to go to a pub in Trondheim.
“There was a much higher workload (Saturday) than in the summer. There were already a lot of people in the afternoon and this continued through the night,” Oslo Police spokesman Rune Heckelstrand told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.
Solberg, responding to criticism of the sudden move to reopen society, said Norwegian health experts had supported the measure.
“We will not have strict (coronavirus) measures unless they are professionally justified. People should be allowed to live as they wish,” Solberg said in a comment to VG late Saturday.
Norway is the second country in the Nordic region to lift COVID-19 restrictions after Denmark did so on 10 September.
According to official figures, more than 76 percent of Norway’s 5.3 million population have received one dose of the vaccine, and about 70 percent have had both shots.
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