Today is May Day, the most important holiday of the year for Socialists. Defying tradition, six members of the FpU impulsively decided to take part in the May Day parade in Stavanger without asking permission.
This was unacceptable to the Reds, of course. The final provocation, however, may have been the fact that the members of FpU were — gasp! — carrying an Israeli flag…
There are limits to tolerance, even in Norway.
Many thanks to our Norwegian correspondent The Observer for this translation from Aftenbladet:
The FpU have decided to file charges after being attacked in the May 1 parade
FpU members claim they were attacked when they joined the May 1 parade in Stavanger.
The six FpU members, including the chairman of the Stavanger branch of the political organization and a city councillor from the FrP, admit that they weren’t given the green light to participate in this year’s parade. Even so they decided to join the procession a few hundred meters behind the front of the parade in Løkkeveien (Løkke street)
“We have applied to join the May 1 parade several times previously. This year we didn’t bother, but decided to join anyway and stay at the very back of the procession,” says Mats Danielsen, a member of the city council for the FrP.
The FpU members were carrying Israeli flags and banners claiming that gender-based affirmative action is sexist, that developing countries must be helped out of poverty through free trade, and quoting from the socialist song ‘the International’ saying that “we are burdened by taxes.”
According to the FPU it didn’t take long before trouble erupted.
“At the theatre, they began pushing and tugging at us and threatened to call the police,” Danielsen says.
“A group gathered around me. They tugged at the Israeli flag and use it to hit me in the neck before they managed to tear it away from me,” says Axel Christopher L. Aarre, the treasurer of Stavanger FpU.
“A person then came along and kicked me in the groin,” he says.
On Tuesday afternoon they went to police to formally report the incident.
“We filed a formal complaint which included the use of violence, violation of freedom of speech and theft,” Aarre says.
Denies charges of violence
Truls Drageset Dydland, City Council representative for Rødt (the Reds), admits that he observed the incident but denies that any violence was used against the FpU members.
“There was a heated discussion and someone came and took a flag, but there wasn’t any violence or fighting taking place. This was a deliberate act of provocation. They illegally entered the parade that we have received authorization from the police to hold. The police also came and told them to leave after a while,” Dydland tells Aftenbladet.
The Red politician says that anyone can join the meetings of the organizing committee and take part in the discussion about which slogans to use in the May 1 procession.
“The slogans we decide upon are chosen democratically. People can’t simply just join the procession and use other slogans. That is illegal.”
There’s cellphone video of part of the incident at the original article.