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OFFBEAT

Bananas free Swedish man from speeding fine

A Swedish driver has escaped speeding tickets in court – because the offender was eating a banana. If that sounds bananas to you, keep reading.

Bananas free Swedish man from speeding fine
These are not the bananas on trial. Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX

A district court in the central Swedish Västmanland region found the man not guilty of having speeded at 68 kilometres per hour on a 60 km/h road in the city of Västerås.

He had been snapped by a police camera in September last year and was handed a 1,500 kronor ($174) fine at the time. In the picture it was clearly visible that the driver was munching on a banana.

However, the owner of the car claimed it could not be him who was seen peeling out in the picture – because he is on a low-carb diet and does not eat bananas.

“I have not eaten bananas for more than two years because I am on the LCHF diet,” the man wrote in his appeal.

The driver also told the court that his car was up for sale in September last year and that between six and ten people had been test driving it around the time of the alleged offence.

In the end, mainly because the photograph snapped by the speeding camera was found to be of too low quality to prove the identity of the person behind the wheel, the court ruled that the man would not have to pay the fine.

Proponents of the LCHF diet (Low Carb and High Fat) eat a lot of protein-rich and fatty foods but avoid high-carbohydrate contents found for example in pasta and certain fruits.

In recent years weight-conscious Swedes have increasingly ditched old-school regimes to opt for trendier diets such as the LCHF. The trend peaked a couple of years ago when it got so popular that Sweden even experienced a shortage of cottage cheese – a staple item for LCHF advocates.

PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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