Eastern Police District has for the first time prohibited alcohol at all ‘Russ’ parties. Now Halden Municipality has said that that the rules should be applied equally
across the country.
All arrangements for school leavers must now have a legally applied for liquor license, as is usual with other official events, reported the Dagbladet newspaper.
The organiser behind the annual ‘Landstreffet’ in Halden, Lasse Kjøniksen, is considering moving the event to another location in Norway.
‘Currently, we are sitting on the fence, and awaiting a response from the Police Directorate’, he told Halden Arbeiderblad newspaper earlier this winter.
On its website, the promoter wrote on Saturday, that the event is 18 rated and ‘only legal’ use of alcohol is allowed for 18-year olds. Later in the day, the point about alcohol was removed.
The background to the case is that Halden Municipality contacted the Directorate of Health to get a clarification on how alcohol law should be interpreted.
During last year’s Russ celebrations, 300 young people were medically treated for alcohol induced causes, and the municipality became concerned.
The result was this week’s ruling, and according to Dagbladet, the Health Directorate (Helsedirektoratet) included in its findings that Russ events cannot be termed as ‘closed gatherings’, although the area where they take place is cordoned off.
Halden Municipality are pressing for the rest of the country to follow the Eastern Police District, and prohibit drinks being carried in to Russ events.
‘Now we ask the National Police Directorate (POD), and the Directorate of Health, to compel others to follow the same rules that we follow, said senior adviser, Sven Stranger, of Halden Municipality (Kommune).
The POD recently sent a letter to all police districts asking for input by March the 1st. After receiving responses, they will consider what to do.
‘We have to let the Russ be Russ’, said chairman of the Fremskrittspartiet’s (FrP) Youth, Bjørn-Kristian Svendsrud to NTB news. He has little faith in the alcohol ban.
‘The grant license would probably barely hold for half an hour. It wouldn’t take more than a few violations of alcohol law to get the licenses revoked.
It is stupid
to believe that a Russ event with over 10,000 attendees will not have a single drunk person there, or not have someone sneaking alcohol in.
Then you might as
well shut the Russ events down sooner rather than later’, he said.
Svendsrud says he fears that Russ events will disappear into smaller, organized gatherings, where there would neither be security guards, nor health care professionals present, as the Russ attempt to bypass the new laws.
‘They take care of troublemakers, helps those who are drunk, and make sure that all sex is consensual’, said the Fremskrittspartiet’s Ungdom (FpU Youth) chairman.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today