Swedish police arrest 130 at reggae festival

Swedish police arrested 130 people for drugs-related offences at a reggae festival in Uppsala over the weekend.

“It was an open drug scene,” said police spokesman Christer Nordström.

“Maybe we could have arrested more if there had been more of us, but I think the investment from the police over the weekend was good,” he said.

The festival, which is in its fifth year, is the biggest in Scandinavia and 10,000 reggae-lovers from across Sweden and elsewhere in Europe descended upon Uppsala for three days of music.

Of the 130 festival-goers who were arrested, some 46 were under the age of 18. The youngest was 13. Most of the offences were said to be minor and the majority of the 30 or so drug seizures were cannabis.

Dozens of samples were taken from those arrested and have now been sent for analysis.

“The police did their job and that’s good,” said one of the visitors, 23 year old Tex Can from Lund.

“I come here for the music but many just come for a smoke,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.

The organiser of the festival, Yared Tekeste, told news agency TT that there were no more drugs than in previous years.

“We know that we have a few more cannabis users than society as a whole, but it’s a problem with society,” he argued.

“They don’t begin smoking cannabis here.”

But the head of Uppsala’s on call social services unit, Björn Andersson, was annoyed that dealing with the festival had cost the department a third of its annual budget.

“We had prepared ourselves for a tough job but but we never could have imagined that there would be this much,” he said.

“I can’t accept that it should turn out like this. As it stands now we can’t recommend that there should be a festival in future.”

But the police were less gloomy about the festival’s prospects. With the exception of one suspected robbery (in which the alleged assailants were released while the victim was held on drugs charges) the festival was entirely free of violent crime.

“I think it is very positive,” said police spokesman Christer Nordström.

Sources: Upsala Nya Tidning, Svenska Dagbladet