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Stockholmers to protest 'license to dance' laws

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17:07 CEST+02:00
Dancing enthusiasts are holding a demonstration in central Stockholm on Saturday to protest against a rule in Sweden that forbids bar patrons from breaking into dance at establishments that don't have a specific dance license.

The law being protested states that certain bars without the license can be fined by authorities if police were to catch anyone engaged in the act of dancing.

The protest is intended to be a carnival type procession through the streets of central Stockholm.

"We have permission to protest but not to dance. But we're well aware of that. If the police should stop us then people would understand how strange the law is," said organizer Sonia Javer to the Östermalmsnytt newspaper.

The protest has been organized by Dans, Trams & Acceptans, and is scheduled to take place from midday onwards, beginning at the Humlegården park.

"During the summer we have enjoyed the warmth and welcomed the mornings to the sounds of dance music without commercial interest,” the group writes on their official website.

“The winter awaits and the freedom we enjoy summer turns into a battle against the authorities which require us to seek permission to dance together.”

The group envisions a dance-filled parade through the streets of Stockholm, with the hope of “showing how free dancing can be, but also that we as participants should control the emergence of clubs and their dance floors, not the bureaucracy.”

It is up to the police to ensure that the law is abided, and one police officer, Robert Lindgren, is concerned that changing the law could be detrimental to the safety of bar goers.

“The purpose of having a permit for a dance floor is first and foremost a point of safety,” he told Sveriges Radio (SR).

“It's known that dance floors lead to more fights, mess, and situations that need police intervention when compared to a normal restaurant environment.”

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