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POLICE

Police to question Norwegian prime minister over Covid-19 rule break

Police are questioning witnesses and have confirmed that they plan to question Prime Minister Erna Solberg after she breached local and national coronavirus rules.

Police to question Norwegian prime minister over Covid-19 rule break
Photo: screenshot Instagram: @erna_solberg

In a statement released on Monday police said they had “started questioning witnesses and are now conducting investigations to find out the circumstances surrounding possible violations.”

Police will also question the PM’s husband Sindre Finnes.

Per Morten Sending, prosecutor for the Buskerud area with the southeastern police district, told newspaper VG police considered it would be “relevant to have a chat with both Erna Solberg and Sondre Finnes”.

Solberg apologized on Friday after it emerged that during her 60th birthday trip to ski resort Geilo, in southern Norway, two private gatherings with more than 10 people present took place, in breach of restrictions in place at the time.

READ ALSO: These are Norway’s Covid-19 guidelines for the Easter holidays

Police launched an investigation into the two gatherings. Solberg was only present at one of the two.

“For the time being, it is too early to say anything about when we can conclude this investigation. We must conduct interviews to gain clarity on what has happened and whether this can be followed up with regard to local or national (coronavirus) regulations,” Sending said.

“It may also be relevant to question the prime minister and her husband,” Sending added.

Sending told broadcaster NRK that police expect to finish the investigations and questioning later this week.

If prosecuted, the prime minister is likely to face a fine, police told NRK on Friday.

“If they come to the conclusion that rules have been broken, we will of course make up for it. I’m prepared to pay fines if we’ve broken the rules,” Solberg told NRK.

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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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