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King refuses to give teen activist WWF award

King refuses to give teen activist WWF award

Published: 18 Oct 2012 10:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Oct 2012 10:24 GMT+02:00

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf on Wednesday said he would not present the "Environmental Hero of the Year" (Årets miljöhjälte) award, given this year to a Swedish teen activist who took a leading role in protesting the construction of a controversial limestone mine on the Baltic island of Gotland.

One mining company suggested that king was trying to avoid taking sides on the issue, which resulted in a spirited protest action as well as ongoing legal dispute.

“It is the king’s decision,” said Royal Court press spokesperson Bertil Ternert to the Helagotland.se news website.

The winner of the prize, 18-year-old Alva Snis Sigtryggsson, took home the award for her work in preventing a quarry being constructed near the Ojnare forest on northern Gotland.

The king's decision came as Sweden's Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) ruled on Wednesday that mining company Nordkalk could no longer continue its work on the island, after a reviewing the validity of a permit allowing the company to open the quarry.

The prize was given out by conservation organization the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) together with Swedish environmental group Minplanet at Thursday morning’s presentation.

“She won for her strong environmental involvement, not least for saving the Ojnare forest on Gotland,” wrote MinPlanet in a statement on their website.

However, not everyone was pleased with the choice of winner, including Nordkalk, the mining company which planned to build the quarry.

“You cannot give the prize to someone who throws themselves before a machine,” explained Jörgen Pettersson, senior safety representative of Nordkalk to Helagotland.

“They are doing something illegal and that is sending the wrong signals to those who are younger and look up to these demonstrators. Above all it’s really as if the king is taking sides with the demonstrators.”

The Royal Court press spokesperson explained that nothing prevents the king from taking sides:

“The king is allowed to take sides, but he often refuses to when it comes to controversial subjects,” Ternert told the paper.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Green Party's youth league has lashed out at what he sees as the king’s cowardice.

“It’s really cowardly of him. And it seems absurd that the king can give out a scout prize to a king in the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia yet won’t present a prize to a young environmental activist in Sweden,” said Björn Lindgren to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

In 2011, the king was slammed for giving Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah a scouting medal during a visit to the country.

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Your comments about this article

12:29 October 18, 2012 by Keith #5083
I am not a supporter of any monarchy in the west, but for a reason that perhaps most will find strange.

There may be certain 'benefits' to living in a goldfish bowl with everyone peering at everything you do, but I actually feel that kings,queens ,princes and princesses should have the same rights of free speech as we subjectively enjoy.

Any person in monarchy should have the same rights of refusal or approval that we enjoy.
12:48 October 18, 2012 by RobinHood
The Gotland limestone quarry is an ongoing legal issue. The King can not influence the outcome either way; he is apolitical, and must be seen to be neutral in court proceedings. No doubt he has his own personal opinions, but in matters like these, he is correct to keep them to himself.

It seems some members of the Green Party need a lesson in the constitutional law of the country they hope to one day govern.
13:26 October 18, 2012 by DAVID T
Oh no - another dumb feminist activist in the making - Don't they do cooking classes at school anymore?
13:36 October 18, 2012 by Europaia
David T, funny you should be calling someone else dumb. Presumably at the school you went to they didn't teach anything much, except how to be a pig.
13:48 October 18, 2012 by byke
Had the 18 old in question, danced around a pole in her spare time - I wonder if we would have seen the same decision.
16:26 October 18, 2012 by Svensksmith
The king looks like he could use some Ex Lax.
18:24 October 18, 2012 by Grokh
she should be the one refusing to take anything from a king in the 21st century specially with all the scandals surrounding him.

also he has given stuff to horrible people dictator etc, but an 18 year old environmentalist is where he draws the line? lol
03:06 October 19, 2012 by Eric1
Good for the King.
03:30 October 19, 2012 by Carbarrister
The next person the WWF will want to give the prize to will be a former community organizer.
19:03 October 19, 2012 by james_g
"You cannot give the prize to someone who throws themselves before a machine," explained Jörgen Pettersson, senior safety representative of Nordkalk to Helagotland.

Why not?

"They are doing something illegal'

Are they? Well, sometimes that's the ONLY way to get any meaningful response from 'the authorities'!

'and that is sending the wrong signals to those who are younger and look up to these demonstrators.'

No it's not!

Above all it's really as if the king is taking sides with the demonstrators."

Oh cobblers! It would be doing no such thing!!! You might, as others have pointed out, just as well say he has also taken sides in the past with repressive dictatorships which are abhorrent to most of his fellow Swedish citizens!
09:08 October 20, 2012 by Helge Krupski
Open Information for prosecutors and police in Sweden about King of Sweden (read in "My Notes") - http://www.facebook.com/Helge.Kroupski

Open letter to The Royal Court of Sweden about King of Sweden (read in "My Notes") - http://www.facebook.com/Helge.Kroupski

H.R.H Princess Madeleine Bernadotte and Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden - should be in prison!!! ...confrontment, lie detector (polygraph), officially request a document is in the archive and the International Court...
13:13 March 21, 2013 by janeway
1. Monarchy is outdated and should be illegal.

2. The king of Sweden, Cal Gustf (that's how HE spells his name) is an honorary president of the Swedish affiliation of the WWF.

3. He probably have a financial interest in the Nordkalk corporation and are pi$$ed off that he now lost some of his investments.

4. He's a fornicator and a liar, so whatever he says or does has no bearing on anyone with a free thinking mind.

5. Brown noses should be deported along with the king.
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