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VIOLENCE

Swedish boar hunters safe after Tunisia attack

Sweden's foreign ministry announced that 12 Swedish boar hunters in Tunisia who were attacked are all accounted for, safely back at their hotel, and preparing to leave the country.

Swedish boar hunters safe after Tunisia attack
Ove Öberg and unidentified friend watch video of their arrest in Tunisia, Sunday

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Camilla Åkesson Lindblom told AFP that the 12, who earlier said they had been beaten on suspicion of being “foreign terrorists”, were all accounted for after the incident on Sunday.

“We have had contact with all of them, and the three who we hadn’t heard from yesterday are also now at their hotel,” she said.

The Swedes were not being held against their will, she emphasised, pointing out that “they are simply waiting at the hotel until they are able to go home.”

The Swedes, who had arrived in Tunisia nearly two weeks ago to hunt wild boar, had been in three separate taxis traveling to the airport Sunday when they were stopped at a checkpoint, dragged out of the vehicles and beaten, one of them said.

“They searched the vehicles. They found our rifles and everything degenerated. They dragged us out of the cars, treated us like foreign terrorists. We were kicked and beaten,” Ove Öberg told reporters at the Africa Hotel after the ordeal on Sunday.

The incident took place near the headquarters of the main opposition party, the PDP, where a gunfight broke out around the time of the arrests.

“We arrived about 10 days ago in Tunisia to hunt boars. We boarded three taxis today to go to the airport and while we were on our way we were stopped at a checkpoint,” Öberg told reporters in a hotel in central Tunis on Sunday.

According to Öberg, police arrested a group of nine Swedish boar hunters travelling in taxis toward a nearby hotel after their flight home was cancelled amid gun battles in the city. Öberg and the five others had a bloodied face and bruises.

“The police arrived. We showed our permits and we could explain to them. The police helped us get out of the situation. The only thing we want now is to go home,” said the man, who was visibly still in shock.

A senior police officer said on state television earlier that several people, including four German nationals, had been arrested after being found carrying weapons inside three taxis in the capital.

“We arrested four German nationals and others of different nationalities. I don’t know the number or the nationalities of the other foreigners,” the officer said, without giving further details.

Tunisia has been wracked by violence following the ouster of strongman leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a wave of popular unrest spread across the country.

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PARTY

Rave party to be held at Sweden’s weirdest tourist attraction

For years it has been not much more than an oddity, an unused tourist attraction that drew guests for its sheer absurdity and wildly out-of-place feeling. But soon, it will be the location of a three-day rave expected to draw electronic music fans from across Scandinavia.

Rave party to be held at Sweden's weirdest tourist attraction
Ready to dance the night away here? Photo: Sisyfosgruppen
It is, of course, the Dragon Gate hotel, one of the strangest places in Sweden. Located just off the E4 motorway near Gävle (Sweden's most random city), Dragon Gate is a massive oriental-looking construction that would seem more at home in rural China than Scandinavia. 
 
The brainchild of Chinese billionaire Jingchun Li, the project converted the former Hotel Älvkarlen into an elaborate Chinese-inspired square consisting of a hotel, restaurant, museum and souvenir store. The project dates back to 2004 but not a single guest has ever stayed in the hotel. Despite a grand opening concert in August 2014, the hotel has never actually opened.
 

The rave's first guests have already arrived. Photo: Sisyfosgruppen
 
There was even a period in which it appeared that the entire thing would be shut down before the hotel ever opened its doors, but that was written off to a mix-up owing to a “strange message” posted on the hotel’s website. 
 
In August, the investment group Sisyfosgruppen purchased Dragon Gate from Jingchun and promised to “make something great out of this unique property”. 
 
While the ambitious project – there are 200 replica terracotta soldiers in the museum, an enormous Guanyin statue and there have even been plans to build the world's largest Buddha and bring in a live panda bear – may not have ever lived up to Jingchun’s original vision, the site is going to be home to what promises to be one wild weekend. 
 
 
On Monday it was announced that the Scandinavia Electronic Festival will be held at Dragon Gate May 31st through June 2nd. 
 
The group Technostate Sweden said the festival will be the culmination of “years of struggle” and it promised a weekend that “will go down in history”. 
 
Although sleep may be the last thing on the minds of those who plan to rave the night away, organizers said that the long-delayed hotel would have 170 rooms available for those “who want to live a bit special” during the weekend party. There will also be camping available in the abutting forest. 
 
Tickets for the festival go on sale on Monday, December 10th. 
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