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Police busy on alcohol-soaked Walpurgis Night

Police busy on alcohol-soaked Walpurgis Night

Published: 01 May 2010 09:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 May 2010 09:20 GMT+02:00

Police across Sweden were kept fully occupied on Friday as cells filed up amid traditional Walpurgis Night (Valborg) excesses.

In southern Sweden the trouble started at around 10am and continued throughout the day. By the end of the evening more than 20 people had been detained for public drunkenness, with the city of Lund accounting for half the Skåne region's total.

At the other end of the country, police in Norrbotten were kept on their toes as 16 people were held for being drunk and disorderly. A further six people were arrested, one of whom is suspected of attempted manslaughter following a knife attack on two people in Kiruna.

There were messy scenes too in Södermanland in east-central Sweden. A drunken woman in Eskilstuna pulled a knife as police officers approached her, slashing one of them on the cheek.

In Stockholm police broke up several groups of intoxicated youngsters in parks across the city. Decisive police action was required on the rocks at Kristineberg where a lakeside party got out of control.

In Värmland in western Sweden some 40 people were detained or arrested for drunkenness.

"The lock-ups are well-occupied, at least in Karlstad, Arvika and Kristinehamn," said police spokesman Mats Persson.

The night also brought with it several reports of assault. In Säffle, a 21-year-old man was arrested for hitting another man in the head with a bottle.

By contrast, police in Dalarna, Gothenburg and Uppsala had a relatively quiet evening, with no more drunken behaviour reported than on an average weekend night.

Walpurgis Night marks the coming of spring and is celebrated with bonfires up and down the country. The night is however also the occasion of many young Swedes' first flirtations with alcohol.

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Your comments about this article

10:44 May 1, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
The knife incidences are serious and require a strong police reaction, but obviously the majority of people in jail tonight should not be in jail. It's absolutely sickening how arbitrary Christian morality rules have been carried over into modern Swedish (and many, many, many other country's) laws to the point where people can't just be merry in public... oh no... they have to appear sober and as normal as if they were the Queen giving a speech on a solemn occasion... people are expected to be that way at all times in public... but blech... we all know what it means to be human and that a few of the most valuable times of our lives are when we eschew that bullshit.

So as progressive as Sweden might think it is, yeah right... keep locking up people for harmless public drunkenness. But please do jail the crap out of anyone who pulls out a knife... that is criminal behaviour no matter what.
10:47 May 1, 2010 by Keith #5083
I'm over 60, but I would be interested to see the stats on the age groups of the arrested. I have a sneaky suspicion that the majority were not teenagers! Anybody got any statistics?
11:20 May 1, 2010 by daijo
@Mr. Puppy I live in Lund and Valborg here is a messy thing. A big portion of the univeristy students (about 30000 people) and lots of high school teens spend the whole day drinking. When going from work I saw at least five young persons almost unconscious. 10000 people gathered in the city park. Took a walk in the evening and it was like a zombie movie. If the police here took 10 people to the police station to sleep it off that doesn't sound that bad. Remember they are not sent to jail. They are detained until sobered up and then released without any legal repercussions. On the other hand, even just carrying a knife in public IS illegal.
12:02 May 1, 2010 by nledit
And the reason for no public intoxication has nothing to do with Christian morals. Stop blindly pointing fingers.
12:12 May 1, 2010 by Mr. Puppy

I honestly don't think that any of that makes a difference... yes, it is a messy thing, but my point was that criminal behavior is criminal behavior and a major problem within most societies I've lived in today is that the authorities and society in general do not know how to distinguish between what is truly criminal behaviour and what is just an acceptable lapse in normal behaviour. That ambiguity fuels the crime that drunken people get involved with. The only good thing about having people sober up in the police station is that they won't risk freezing to death once they collapse on the street, but honestly society's money would be better spent if the police simply drove people to their homes when they are passed out in public. The issue is that drunk people who also commit criminal behavior (bringing out knives, beating people up, etc.) should be dealt with strongly, but people who are just drunk... they are just drunk and imprisoning them 1. obviously doesn't stop the same from happening year after year and 2. equating their simple drunkenness and rowdiness with knife-wielding freaks and violent b*st*rds just wastes the police's time and serves to perpetuate the violence because people are generally reasonable and when the law is unreasonable they tend to get closer to breaking it because if one aspect of it is unreasonable then they question the whole thing. What i want to see is a clear distinction between just general drunkenness and true criminal behavior because I have found when you can get people to separate those concepts in their minds they suddenly stop acting belligerently in public when drunk.
12:21 May 1, 2010 by mikmak
People who are taken to a holding cell because they are drunk are taken in with reference to "Lag om omhändertagande av berusade personer". They're typically not arrested. The problem is you need to be able to communicate where you live in order for someone to take you there, in most of these cases that was probably not possible. They take you in, give you a bucket and a mattress and check on you a few times per hour.
16:01 May 1, 2010 by Beavis
People who are drunk in public and not creating a dusturbance should be left to go on their merry way and not put in a cell to sleep it off. Waste of tax payers money and police time.
18:22 May 1, 2010 by nledit
@Beavis, I'm sure for the most part, that is the case. I'd bet 80% of the people out after 11pm were drunk to some degree, though probably not falling over drunk. And the ones that were taken in were probably causing disturbances.
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