Czechs disinvite Norway over forced adoption

The Czech government has withdrawn an invitation to Norway’s Ambassador to attend national day celebrations at Prague Castle in protest at Norwegian authorities’ decision to put a Czech boy up for adoption.

Czechs disinvite Norway over forced adoption
Eva Michalakova with her two sons in a photo posted on Facebook in September. Photo: Private
Norway’s controversial Child Welfare Service, or Barnevernet, last month put the six-year-old son of Eva Michalakova up for adoption and stripped her of her parental rights to the elder boy, who is ten.  
Michalakova’s battle to get her sons back after they were seized by Barnevernet in May 2011 has become a cause célèbre in the Czech Republic, with the country’s President comparing  Barnevernet to the Nazi Lebensborn programme. 
Siri Ellen Sletner, Norway’s ambassador, confirmed to Norway’s Dagbladet that she had been disinvited. 
“The case has received a lot of press coverage in the Czech Republic because it applies to a Czech family,” she said. “From the embassy’s side, we have received it, and informed the authorities in Oslo about it, and we are now in dialogue with the authorities in Oslo on further follow-up of the case.” 
Barnevernet’s apparent low threshold for taking children into care, which some claim applies particularly to certain groups, such as children of Roma Norwegians or foreigners living in Norway, has led to several high profile cases in recent years. 
Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, a geophysicist and IT specialist, battled for nearly two years to get back their two children after they were taken into care in 2011 before becoming successful.
This year, the struggle of Gražina Leščinskiene, a Lithuanian woman, to win back her son has become a high profile story in the Baltic state, with a prominent talk show broadcasting a Norway expert arguing that the country was kidnapping foreign children to offset its high rate of inbreeding. 


Oslo police stop May 17th parade with ‘around 150’ participants

Police in Oslo halted a parade to mark Norway’s National Day on Monday in which the number of participants appeared to exceed the city’s current restrictions on public assembly.

Oslo police stop May 17th parade with 'around 150' participants
Photo by Ernest Ojeh on Unsplash

Around 150 people gathered in central Oslo to take part in a parade, which was stopped by police as it headed towards the Royal Palace, newspaper VG reported.

“They had a size of about 150, give or take. They were moving around the city centre and at one point crossed Karl Johan (street) towards the palace,” senior police officer Tor Gulbrandsen told VG.

The event was called an “alternative May 17th parade” by Gulbrandsen, in absence of the city’s regular National Day celebrations.

Norway’s current coronavirus restrictions allow parades of up to 200 people provided social distancing is observed. But restrictions in Oslo are significantly tighter, with public assembly limited at 10 people.


“Another event was taking place at the palace. The police therefore chose to stop this alternative parade before it reached Slottsplassen [Palace Square, ed.],” the police officer said.

Participants joined the parade as a protest against Norway’s coronavirus restrictions, VG writes.

The royal family was on the balcony at the palace, in keeping with regular May 17th traditions, as the alternative parade approached the location, police said.

“Things happened calmly, but the police had to clearly communicate with the organisers to prevent them from disrupting the other event,” Gulbrandsen said.

That included using megaphones to inform them that their event was “illegal”.

The parade then moved towards the Egertorget square, by which time the number of participants had dwindled.

“Police were in the area to ensure they did not disrupt other events and have thoroughly documented the behaviour that went on. We must subsequently look at whether there will be stronger response (by police), it is too early to say as of now,” Gulbrandsen told VG.